AFP clashes with NPA in Davao on Christmas Day

MANILA, Philippines – With no holiday truce in place, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the communist New People's Army (NPA) clashed on Christmas Day, December 25.

A military report said soldiers stormed to Barangay Sibulan in Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur, after receiving reports that NPA rebels were in the area.

The soldiers faced gunfire after finding the communist guerrillas, who were seen preparing shanties and stages supposedly for the 50th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

There were no reported injuries from the clash. The military then seized what the Reds left behind: encampment and combat equipment, and what soldiers believe are "valuable documents."

The clash came after the AFP refused to declare a holiday ceasefire, and the Reds announced an escalation of their attacks after Congress allowed martial law for one more year in Mindanao. (READ: The generals' coup in 2018: Duterte breaks up with Reds)

Brigadier General Roberto Ancan, commander of the 1002nd Brigade, said they are continuously monitoring the movements of the rebels with the help of civilians.

"We are now conducting a focused security operation to make the communities celebrate a yuletide season that they deserve," Ancan said. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.