4 soldiers, two civilians wounded in NPA attack in Catarman
CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines – Suspected communist rebels ambushed a military vehicle of the 43rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army Tuesday, December 18, in Catarman, Northern Samar, wounding 4 soldiers and 2 civilians.
Captain Francis Agno, spokesperson of the 8th Infantry Division Philippine Army to which the 43rd IB belongs, said Wednesday, December 19, the attack happened in Barangay McKinley. The soldiers of Charlie Company were on their way to deliver food to their comrades who were conducting Community Support Program in the area.
Agno said an explosion sparked the attack followed by intense gunfire.
He identified the victims as Private Rolly B. Dizon; Private First Class Rorey O. Montopar; Private Joel Lacabe and Corporal Jose Jerome L. Ballano. The civilians were Sherly Robenacio, 35 , and her son Christian Robenacio, 17, of Barangay Hinatad, Catarman, Northern Samar.
All the victims were brought to a hospital.
The soliders were onboard an unmarked Lite Ace Van heading towards Catarman proper when they hit an anti-personnel mine. The waiting members of the New People's Army then opened fire at the disabled vehicle.
Agno said the Army soldiers fired back resulting in a 5-minute gun battle. Two civilians who were in the area were wounded during fierce exchange.
The NPA rebels escaped towards different directions, said Agno.
Meanwhile, Lt. Colonel Apollo B. Herrera, commanding officer of the 43rd IB condemned the barbaric act, particularly the use of anti-personnel mines.
According to Herrera, the incident has brought not only misery but caused panic to the innocent civilians.
Cornillo Robenacio, husband Sherly Robenacio said, "What is happening to us is torture. It is brutal, the NPA did no good things to us."
43rd IB s now preparing to file criminal cases against the NPA rebels.
The military is now on red alert. This means there will be no Christmas break for the soldiers in Northern Samar to ensure the safety of its area of operation and to prepare for another possible violent move of the rebels. – Rappler.com