MANILA – A manhunt is underway against members of the New People's Army (NPA) behind the attack in Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro where three police officers died and nine others were injured on Friday.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Saturday called the unprovoked NPA ambush “barbaric”.
Killed were Master Sgt. Jonathan Alvarez, Staff Sgt. Nolito Develos, and Cpl. Stan Gonggora, whose wakes Eleazar visited.
Six of the nine injured cops were still in the hospital while the other three have been discharged.
"We strongly condemn this latest atrocity perpetrated by the communist terrorists in Occidental Mindoro. These terrorists really do not know the concepts of peace and humanity as even in this time of a public health emergency, they continue their cowardly attacks against state forces and even innocent civilians," Eleazar said during his visit streamed at the PNP Facebook page.
"Sinisiguro ko sa kanilang pamilya na mabibigyan ng hustisya ang pagkamatay nila (I assure you justice will be served). The PNP is now coordinating with them to extend all assistance in this difficult time," he added.
He also vowed to give all necessary assistance to the wounded personnel.
Eleazar directed the Occidental Mindoro Provincial Police Office to intensify its operations against the NPA and to ensure target hardening measures are in place.
"Hindi natin palalagpasin ang ginawa ng mga teroristang ito. Patuloy natin silang tutugisin para panagutin sa kanilang karahasan at hindi na makapanggulo pa sa ating mga komunidad (We will not let this pass. We will hunt them down, have them pay for their crimes, and make sure they do not do it again)," he said.
Eleazar also awarded the "Medalya ng Kadakilaan'' to the 12 PNP Mindoro Occidental personnel who engaged the communist rebels.
Two of the injured who were airlifted to the PNP General Hospital in Camp Crame in Quezon City received their medals upon Eleazar’s return.
The nine wounded personnel were likewise pinned with the "Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting".
NPA rebels fired upon the security convoy of Occidental Mindoro Gov. Eduardo Gadiano at a secluded area in Sitio Banban, Barangay Nicolas at around 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
Gadiano’s group came from a "Serbisyo Caravan" where they delivered aid to a remote village.
The governor was unharmed. (PNA)