An advance party of the Philippine Army tasked to secure a government team which will dole out aid to residents under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) clashed with armed men suspected to be New People’s Army (NPA) rebels at a remote village in Bilar at midday on Sunday.
First Lt. Elma Grace Remonde, civil military officer of the Philippine Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion (IB), said their troops clashed with a still undetermined number of armed men at the boundary of Barangay Cambigsi in Bilar and Upper Cabacnitan in Batuan at 12:30 p.m.
There were no reported casualties.
According to Remonde, state forces have launched a hot pursuit operation against the suspected rebels.
Troops of the 47th Infantry Battalion were conducting clearing operations ahead of the distribution of SAP aid on Monday when the firefight broke out.
“Naay distribution of [aid] ugma sa Cambigsi, mao nag-clearing mi. Nagpa-advance [party] mi before sa encounter,” Remonde said.
The 47th IB has been tasked to escort government personnel who will distribute financial aid to beneficiaries of the SAP.
Although Bohol continues to be deemed insurgency-free, there have been several encounters between state forces and suspected rebels in the past two years.
The last clash which left one Army soldier and one rebel dead was also in Cambigsi, Bilar on February 29, 2020.
It was the first time in recent years that an armed encounter between government troops and suspected rebels in the province resulted in deaths. (R. Tutas)