SANTIAGO, Agusan del Norte - Three persons were killed in a clash between soldiers and communist rebels in a mountainous area of Sitio Sarug, Barangay San Isidro early Sunday.
Government troops under the 29th Infantry Battalion were conducting combat operations when they encountered New People's Army rebels.
Sgt. Marlon Balais, scout leader of the battalion; Jerson Beto, a grade 11 student; and Pepito Tiambong, a small-scale miner were killed in the firefight which lasted around 3 minutes.
All three fatalities were declared dead on arrival at the Cabadbaran District Hospital.
The number of encounters between communist rebels and government troops has risen since President Rodrigo Duterte declared an end to the ceasefire with the NPA and the scrapping of peace talks.
-- Report from Charmane Awitan, ABS-CBN New