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Troops, NPA clash hours before start of New Year ceasefire

Two soldiers were hurt after troops encountered members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Tarragona, Davao Oriental hours before the ceasefires declared by the communists and government took effect on Saturday.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said teams from the 6th Scout Ranger Battalion were sent to Barangay Tubaon to reports of an NPA harassment.

As the troops were advancing to the village, the NPA members allegedly fired at them and detonated a landmine.

The AFP said the communist guerillas withdrew after a 30-minute firefight.

The military said some members of the NPA could have been wounded in the firefight based on bloodstains seen in the encounter site.

The clash took place at around 6:25 a.m., nearly 10 hours before the unilateral ceasefires declared by the communist group and the government took effect.

President Duterte has declared a ceasefire from 6 p.m. of December 30 until 11:59 p.m. of January 2. The Communist Party of the Philippines' ceasefire will also take effect at 6 p.m. December 30 until 6 p.m. of January 2. —ALG, GMA News