The Philippine military on Friday, said that it has stepped up security measures to destroy any attempt to sabotage the elections in Zamboanga del Norte.

This came after government troops clashed with blatant communist guerrillas in one town in the province during vote-counting machines (V.C.Ms.) were being brought to election precincts.

Brigadier General Leonel Nicolas, commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, said that rebels were "likely" planning on disrupting the electoral process in the area.

The BGen. said that soldiers encountered remnants of groups under the New People’s Army’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee in Zamboanga del Norte on the afternoon of May 5.

Troops and rebels exchanged firepower for about 30 minutes in the village of Tinuyop, a hinterland village of Leon Postigo town, while government troops were securing the distribution of VCMs to the polling precincts in the area.

When the rebels retreated, Mr. Nicolas said that, troops found personal belongings, foodstuff, medicine supplies, and other stuff left behind at the encounter site.

The Brigadier General assured that Army units under his command were on top of the situation even as he downplayed the encounter as “an isolated case.”

He also said that the terrorist organization New People's Army in the Zamboanga Peninsula region was already “weak in number and firepower.”