8th-IDCATBALOGAN CITY, May 2 — The Philippine Army here has stepped up intelligence gathering in Eastern Visayas after the foiled attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) at an army detachment in Hilomot village, San Jose de Buan, Samar.

Major Gen. Raul Farnacio, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said the attack on Monday dawn is alarming since it took place just five kilometers away from the town center.

At least three armed rebels were killed during the clash while five soldiers were hurt.

Government troops recovered a high powered firearm and grenade. A day after the attack, soldiers found 10 kilograms of explosives near the camp and subversive documents.

“I ordered our soldiers to intensify their intelligence operation to prevent similar attacks. This was a large scale and a well-planned attack; however, the army unit foiled such attempt because of some information given by civilians,” Farnacio said.

Hot pursuit operation against withdrawing rebel troops is still ongoing, concentrating in the mountainous areas of San Jose de Buan town, some 70 kilometers from this city, the provincial capital.

San Jose de Buan is a 4th class town in Samar province with a population of 7,769 people living in 14 villages.

Samar is known to be one of the hotbeds of armed rebels in the country. Several encounters between the army and NPA have been reported in Samar in the past years. (Jazmin Bonifacio/PNA)