From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2020): Villagers flee as military, NPA clash in NoCot (By John Andrew Tabugoc)
Google map of Magpet, North Cotabato
MAGPET, North Cotabato -- Close to 200 residents in a remote barangay here and another village in nearby Arakan town were forced to evacuate following a clash between the military and communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the area on Thursday.
1st Lt. Christopher dela Cruz, Army’s 3rd Infantry Battalion (IB) civil-military affairs officer, said the 30-minute gun battle occurred around 10 a.m. at the boundary of Sitio Midsapakan, Barangay Napalico and Sitio Myarere, Barangay Sumalili of Arakan.
Troopers from the 3IB were on patrol when they received reports of some 30 NPA rebels who were gathering in the area.
“Based on our intelligence report, members of the NPA Guerilla Fronts 53 and 56 led by Commanders Egor and Macky were planning to merge their forces against the military,” dela Cruz said in an interview by reporters Friday.
He said the NPA’s planned merger was hatched due to the two NPA fronts' deteriorating numbers.
Sensing that government troopers were approaching, the NPA rebels tried to put up a fight but later withdrew due to the arrival of military helicopter gunships that pounded on their positions.
Dela Cruz said no government trooper was hurt in the clash but bloodstains were seen on the trail of the retreating rebels.
“Military pursuit operations are ongoing,” he said.
The local social welfare office is currently attending to the needs of the affected villagers who are temporarily sheltered with their relatives and vacant halls in Sitio Sun Love of Barangay Napalico.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.