By Priam Nepomuceno

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – Department of National Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. vowed the government would continue to pursue and eradicate terrorist groups, following the killing of a soldier in a clash with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Batangas over the weekend.

Ang AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] ay palaging nakabantay at hindi titigil sa pagsugpo ng lahat ng teroristang grupo na nagdudulot ng kapahamakan sa ating bansa (The AFP will not stop in eradicating terrorist groups which pose a threat to our country),” Teodoro said in a statement Sunday.

The clash happened three weeks after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. granted amnesty to former members of rebel groups, including the NPA.

Expressing his condolences, Teodoro assured aid for the family of the fallen soldier and medical assistance to the three others who were wounded.

“We are ensuring that our wounded soldiers will receive the best medical care, and provide all the necessary assistance to the family of our slain soldier during this difficult time,” he added.

The identities of the fallen and wounded troops have yet to be disclosed.

On Sunday, the military encountered an undetermined number of NPA insurgents, believed to be affiliated with the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee’s Sub-Regional Military Area 4C, ensuing a firefight in Barangay Malalay in Balayan town.

The clash resulted in six NPA rebels killed and the recovery of high-powered firearms and other subversive documents.

The soldier killed in the clash belonged to the 59th Infantry Battalion. The wounded were taken to the Medical Center Western Batangas in Balayan. (PNA)