TACLOBAN CITY-Government troopers recovered firearms after they engaged alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in a firefight in Calbayog City, Samar on Wednesday (Feb.1) in the afternoon.

The soldiers, belonging to the 43rd Infantry Battalion, encountered about 20 rebel members in the boundary of the villages of Cagminipis Norte and Cangomaod while they were having their combat operations at about 1:10 pm.

This encounter resulted in a 15-minute firefight between the two groups with the rebels withdrawing, leaving behind two M-16 rifles.

No one was hurt on the government side.

Meantime, in Northern Samar, five former rebels from Gamay town surrendered to police on Wednesday.

The five, identified as alias ‘Golong’, 70; ‘Abo’, 59; ‘Odong’,62; ‘Dondon’, 30; and ‘VC’,48, are currently in the custody of the police.

The former rebels decided to surrender and return to the folds of the law due to hardships living in the mountains and fighting with the government, a report from the regional headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP) based in Palo, Leyte, said.

They also want to be reunited with their respective families, the report added.

All surrenderees are expected to receive assistance from the government under its ECLIP program, or Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.(JOEY A. GABIETA)