Clashes between government forces and the CPP-NPA have displaced families in Ilocos Sur and Abra as residents fear for their safety.  

Residents captured footage of Philippine Air Force air assets firing during the encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and CPP-NPA in the mountains of Pilar, Abra, and Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur on April 2, 2024.

In Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, 22 families or 87 individuals evacuated from Sitio Paring, Barangay Babal-lasioan. Additionally, 242 individuals from seven sitios in Barangay Gusing have also evacuated.

"Takot [kami], 'yung mga kapitbahay ko nagsisigawan, nag-iiyakan," Hilaria Bayugo, Barangay Gusing Chairman, said.

In Pilar, Abra, the mayor suspended classes on April 3, 2024 as a precautionary measure. Nearly 100 families were evacuated because of the conflict.

“Nakikiusap po ako sa kanila na huwag po munang bumalik sa mga bahay-bahay nila, para sa safety din po nila, kasi di po natin alam na baka meron pa rin dyan sa kapaligiran na hindi nating kakilala, na baka manggulo,” Mayor Tyron Christopher Beroña, said.

According to the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, soldiers received information about the presence of NPA members in the area.

“After ng five minutes na firefight, natagpuan itong mga miyembro [ng] KLG North Abra. With the pursuit operation ay natunton muli sila around 5 p.m. na, so mayroong naging kasunod na palitan ng putok,” Maj. Rigor Pamittan, Chief of the Division Public Affairs Office of the 5ID Philippine Army.

One soldier sustained a shoulder injury and received treatment at the hospital.

The military clarified that the video of the encounter showed a high-caliber armalite, not a missile, as perceived by residents.

This marks the fifth encounter between the military and leftist groups, according to the Philippine Army, with previous encounters happening in the tri-boundaries of Kalinga, Apayao, and Abra.

The military urged NPA members to surrender and return to the government.