14 NPA killed in Batangas encounter a week after gov't cancels peace talks

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — At least 14 members of the New People's Army (NPA) were killed in two different clashes in Nasugbu, Batangas on Tuesday night - a week after the President officially cancelled peace talks with the communist rebels.

BGen. Arnulfo Burgos, Commander of 202nd Infantry Brigade, said on Tuesday night, two other rebels were hurt. Five from the government were also hurt.

Burgos said the government troops recovered seven high-powered firearms.

"The Secretary of the NPAs Guerilla Unit 3 and one platoon leader were among those who fought it out and got killed in the said encounter," 2nd Infantry Division Spokesperson Capt. Melchor Durante said in a statement, Wednesday.

Durante added, the slain NPAs were believed to be part of the same group which suffered heavy casualties in prior encounters, including a clash on Barangay Utod, also in Nasugbu, on November 20.

Meanwhile, government troops also clashed with the communist rebels in Barangay Talisayan, Albuera town in Leyte on Tuesday morning.

No casualties on the government troops were reported after the incident.

Maj. Gen. Raul M Farnacio, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, said the successful operation of the army is the result of the shared cooperation of the villagers about the presence of the NPA rebels that continue to engage in acts of violence and hostilities endangering the lives and properties of innocent people.

The firefight lasted for 15 minutes and resulted to the recovery of two Cal .45 pistols; four magazines of Cal .45 pistol; one hand grenade; more or less fifty live ammunition; five cellular phones; subversive documents with high intelligence value; and personal belongings.

Farnacio added the military in the region will remain committed to serve and protect the people in Eastern Visayas especially in the far-flung and conflict-affected areas to ensure peace and development.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360 on November 24, which formally ended the government's long-standing peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines, its negotiating arm the National Democratic Front, and the NPA.

READ: Military to step up offensives as it expects NPA attacks

CNN Philippines' correspondents Gerg Cahiles, David Santos, and Tacloban-based stringer Wil Mark Amazona contributed to this report.