Manila — Philippine government warplanes pounded a communist rebel camp with 75-pound bombs and ground troops attacked two other rebel strongholds in a major offensive north of Manila yesterday. A military spokesman said the coordinated operation marked the start of ``a total war'' against the New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas operating in the northern Philippines.
There were no casualty reports issued for Monday's bombing of the guerrilla headquarters in Kalinga-Apayao Province or Sunday's bombing in the area or in the operations against rebel forces in two other provinces.
Gen. Fidel Ramos, the armed forces chief, clarified an earlier report from the state-run Philippine News Agency that quoted local military officers as saying ``heavy fighting'' had erupted in Kalinga-Apayao. He said troops there were still scouring the jungles leading to the bombed area. He told reporters the Monday bombs hit a sizable camp where rebels directed their operations in the north.