Legazpi City: A commanding officer of a unit of Maoist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the eastern Philippines province of Sorsogon was killed during a firefight with government troops on Friday.

The Philippine Army reported on its Facebook page that the battle occurred at around 5.30am in a jungle near Sitio Hukdong, Balocawe village, in Matnog town.
Inspector Malu Calubaquib, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol, identified the high-ranking official as "Ka (comrade) Randy", who is one of the five casualties, the Manila Bullettin reported.
Sorsogon's 2,119-sqkm densely-forested land, an area nearly thrice bigger than Singapore, has seen a number of clashes between the army and communist rebels in recent months.

In March, two top-ranking NPA rebels were captured following a clash with army in Castilla town.

Calubaquib said that the casualties are still being identified but one of them was named as “Ka Cris.”
Authorities said that two others, including an alleged student activist from the University of the Philippines (UP), were captured.

They were also able to recover five high powered fire arms which includes two M653 rifles, two M16 rifles and one M203 grenade launcher.
Army medics gave first aid to the two captured rebel members and were then taken to the provincial hospital.

NPA rebels, composed of about 4,000 fighters, had been blamed for torching heavy equipment used in building the Bicol International Airport in Albay in May 2012 and an under-construction airport in Masbate in August 2013.

The NPA is the armed unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines which has been waging a Maoist-style insurgency against the government for the past 44 years that killed more than 100,000 mostly innocent civilians.

Peace talks between the Maoists and Manila government collapsed in 2013.