Two soldiers were killed and eight others were injured after an encounter with members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental early Saturday.
The slain soldiers were identified as Sergeant Sandy Arevalo and Private First Class Vicente Marcon.
Injured were Sergeant Niño Nabaunag, Privates First Class Michael Besana, Voltair Catamn, Angelito Bariga, and Kenneth Cerbo, as well as Privates Ryan Las Piñas, Joven Taghap, and John Daryle Delgado.
Captain Ruel LLanes, civil military operations officer of teh 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, said their troops encountered at least 60 communist rebels in Barangay Tan-Awan at around 5 a.m.
Llanes said the soldiers were conducting clearing operations in the area as part of security preparations for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Monday, May 14.
Additional troops have been sent to the village to go after the rebels.
The clash happened amid efforts to revive the stalled peace talks between the rebels and the government. —reports from Erwin Nicavera and Raffy Cabristante/ALG, GMA News