A soldier was killed when a firefight ensued between the government troops and communist rebels in Sto. Nino town in Cagayan province, an Army official said.
In a phone interview on Thursday, February 9, Lieutenant Colonel Rembert Baylosis, commanding officer of the 17 Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, identified the casualties as Private First Class Rembert Tabuada.
Baylosis said they are already coordinating with the family of Tabuada in Tuao town.
The army troop was reportedly conducting “security operation” in Balanni village, following complaints from the residents that there were elements of the New People’s Army (NPA) guerrila in the area.
“Actually, before pa mag end ang ceasfire, nagrereklamo ang mga tao na nandun ang mga NPA. Wala lang kaming magawa dahil may ceasefire,” Baylosis said.
(Actually, even before the ceasefire ended, the people are already complaining about the presence of the NPA rebels. But we can’t just move because there’s a ceasefire.)
He added that even the village chairman had been reaching him to report on presence of NPA.
On Wednesday, February 8, days after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the ceasefire against the rebels, Baylosis’s troops went to “check” but ensued in a firefight that last for about 20 minutes.
Baylosis said they have confirmed that 5 rebels were wounded.
He also confirmed that a firefight against the rebels happened again Thursday morning but he would not disclose details yet.