Police officer, 8 communist rebels killed in separate central Philippine gunfights

BenarNews staff
Police officer, 8 communist rebels killed in separate central Philippine gunfights New People’s Army guerillas stand in formation on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines, April 19, 2017.
Manman Dejeto/AFP

Eight suspected communist rebels and a police officer were killed in separate shootouts in the central Philippines this week, the military said Friday, despite efforts to jumpstart peace talks. 

The latest incident flared up shortly before 7 a.m. Friday in Campagao, a village in Bilar town on Bohol island, where troops from the 47th Infantry Battalion and police engaged with New People’s Army guerrillas. The NPA is the military wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been fighting a rebellion against Manila for the past 55 years. 

A joint army-police team was sent to the area to arrest Domingo Jaspe Compoc (also known as Silong), a leader of the local NPA branch who was the subject of a 2.6 million peso (U.S. $46,500) reward for his capture. The police officer, Compoc and four other rebels died in Friday’s fighting, the military said.

“This latest debacle of the CPP-NPA is a clear manifestation of our steadfast commitment on ending the local communist-armed conflict in the Visayas region,” said Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, regional military chief. 

On Wednesday, three NPA guerillas were killed during a clash in the hinterlands of Escalante City in Negros Occidental province, according to Lt. Col. Arnel Calaoagan, a regional commanding officer. The clash dragged on until the next day when four rebels were injured during a law enforcement operation. 

This week’s violence came as the government and the CPP were trying to resume peace negotiations

Representatives from both sides have begun exploratory meetings, although Vice President Sara Duterte, a staunch anti-communist official, described a potential peace deal as “an agreement with the devil.” 

Her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte who served from 2016 to 2022, canceled negotiations with the communists a year after taking office, accusing the group of continuing deadly attacks in the southern Mindanao region. His administration formally branded the NPA as a terrorist entity. 

The CCP has been waging Asia’s longest-running rebellion since 1969. But from a peak of about 20,000 fighters in the 1980s, its forces have significantly dwindled over the years. 

The National Security Council early this month said there were only 11 “weakened guerrilla fronts” nationwide with about 1,500 regular fighters seeking to overthrow the government. 

Jeoffrey Maitem in Davao, Philippines, contributed to this report.


Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.