An armed rebel died while two high-powered firearms were recovered following an encounter at Barangay dela Paz in Lopez, Quezon around 5:30 a.m. Monday morning.
In an interview with the Philippines News Agency (PNA), Philippine Army 2nd Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Xyzon Meneses said that the operating troops of the First Platoon recovered an M16 rifle and a shotgun after a 20-minute gun battle with the 30 armed rebels.
The firefight casualty is yet to be identified as the army troops are still conducting the operations to track down other fleeing bandits.
But, the military is set to implement the order of President Rodrigo Duterte in his State of the Nation Address for “a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP/NPA/NDF effective immediately and call on our fellow Filipinos in the National Democractic Front and its forces to respond accordingly.”
Capt. Meneses also said that according to Major Gen. Romeo G. Gan, 2ID commanding general, that “this (armed encounter) could have been avoided if the rebels have listened to the government’s sincere call for peace.”
Meanwhile, Gan commended the troops for a job well done and called on rebels to abandon their armed struggle and join in President Duterte’s call for a permanent and lasting peace.
He also said that the military stood ready to abide with the President’s order on a unilateral ceasefire and his vision for a peaceful and progressive country and the armed forces hierarchy enforcement of the peace process.