Philippine troops kill two communist rebels in clashes
Government troops killed two communist rebels in separate clashes in the eastern Philippines, a military spokesman said Sunday.
Lieutenant Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said troops encountered the rebels on patrol in the provinces of Eastern Samar and Northern Samar on Saturday. One rebel was killed in each clash, dpa reported.
Troops recovered two M-16 rifles from the slain guerrillas, Burgos said.
The military has stepped up offensives against communist rebels who have intensified their extortion activities during the campaign for national elections in May.
The rebels are expected to collect more than 100 million dollars from demanding "permit-to-campaign" and "permit to win" fees from politicians running in the May 10 polls, the military said.
They allegedly collected an estimated 77 million dollars from politicians in the 2004 and 2007 elections, according to the Commission on Elections.
Communist rebels have been fighting the Philippine government since the late 1960s, making the movement one of the longest-running leftist insurgencies in Asia.