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Villagers flee fighting in Abra

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BAGUIO CITY — More than a hundred families from two villages in Pilar town in Abra fled their homes after government troopers fought with communist rebels before noon and lasted until dusk on Tuesday.

Pilar Mayor Tyrone Beroña said 137 families (483 individuals) are now temporarily staying at the municipal gym while 6 families (23 individuals) sought refuge with their relatives.

All evacuees were immediately provided with emergency and relief goods by the mayor and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Cordillera. Mr. Beroña suspended classes in elementary and high school on Wednesday.

Army Major Rigor Pamittan, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division, said soldiers came across 15 communist rebels from the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya-North Abra by chance around around noon on Tuesday, sparking the armed encounter in which an army corporal was wounded. 

Mr. Beroña said the rebels were only on transit through the town and must be headed for Ilocos Sur. — Artemio A. Dumlao