1 officer dead, 1 wounded, say police
MANILA (Second UPDATE)- One police commando died and another was wounded when elite forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and communist rebels clashed in San Nicolas town Pangasinan Friday.
Police said PO2 Aries Tamondong of the PNP Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) was killed in the encounter while another officer, not three as authorities earlier reported, was wounded in the incident.
The clash erupted on the boundary of Barangays Sta. Maria and Malico as police were conducting patrols in town following reports of rebel sightings in the area.
The PNP said police and military reinforcement readily evacuated Tamondong and the wounded officer, whose name has not been released as of this posting.
Police and military elements are "still conducting clearing and hot pursuit operation as of this time," said Chief Insp. Norman Florentino of the Pangasinan provincial police office.
Earlier Friday, Pangasinan Public Safety Company commander Supt. Virgilio Pascua said concerned citizens reported being blocked by rebels in some barangays.
Pascua meanwhile clarified that the rebels have not established a foothold in San Nicolas town but only a resting area.
Authorities have yet to determine the number of rebels encountered by troops.
Nearby towns were placed on full alert after the encounter, police said.
Several attacks by suspected NPA rebels have been reported in recent days following President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to halt talks with communist rebels.