Rebels were reportedly injured after the 15-minute firefight that forced the NPA members under Ka Lucas to withdraw, according to First Lieutenant Ryan Layug.
"We are going to protect Surigaonons and the communities from the atrocities being planned by these rebels," Lieutenant Colonel Rico Amaro, 30th Infrantry Battalion commander said.
Last January 29, Private First Class Erwin Salan, a member of Amaro's Python Battalion, was abducted in Barangay Budlingin, Alegria, Surigao del Norte after leading a cleanliness drive.
On the same day at midnight, soldiers taking part in a peace and development outreach program in Barangay Mat-i were attacked by the rebels. Four soldiers were wounded.
"We thank the members of the community for giving us timely information. A report was sent to us that the NPA will again attack the community, so we responded. President Duterte gave so much time for the peace process to move forward, we regret why can't this group contribute for a peaceful Surigao." Amaro added.
Following President Rodrigo Duterte's withdrawal of the government's ceasefire with the NPA, the military has resumed offensives against the rebel group, vowing to “hit them hard."
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