So far at least eight people have been killed, and another eight wounded during anti-drug operations in the remote village of Midsayap, North Cotabato on Sunday.
Four of the eight dead include soldiers from the Army’s 602nd brigade.
Colonel Noly Smarita, commander of the 602nd said gunfire erupted when government forces attempted to serve a warrant on Moks Masgal, also known as Commander Madrox, a known leader of an armed lawless group in Barangay Nabalawag at around 4.30am.
Killed in the gun battle were four of Madrox’s followers including his brother.
Local police said that Moks Masgal is an ex-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sub-leader and has approximately 50 armed followers in his group.
Police also said that Masgal is behind a large shabu distribution syndicate In North Cotabato and Maguindanao.