Bongosia said that the incident took place in the southern Philippine province of Surigao del Sur on Monday when patrolling troops encountered an undetermined number of rebels who did not suffer any casualty in the exchange of fire that last only for a few minutes.
“The troops conducted a combat operation in response to information by intelligence operatives and by residents about the presence of rebels in the area. The soldiers were walking and the rebels were also mobile before the firefight. Both forces met and unfortunately the rebels were able to fire first,” added Bongosia.
There is a deadlock in dialogue between the government and the National Democratic Front. The attacks are considered as an attempt to increase pressure on the government.
“We would like to have a peace agreement with them but it is not us which is the stumbling block to the peace process,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Monday.