TACLOBAN CITY – A soldier and two militiamen were killed while six others from the government troops were injured when members of the New People’s Army (NPA) detonated three anti-personnel mines in Jipapad, Eastern Samar early Wednesday.
Initial reports reaching the police regional office here disclosed that 14 soldiers and members of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary (CAA) were heading to their new detachment when ambushed by about 30 NPA fighters in sitio (subvillage) Cabatas, Barangay (village) 4 in Jipapad town around 6:45 a.m.
The soldiers were about 70 meters away from the detachment when three anti-personnel mines exploded simultaneously followed by a volley of gunfire.
The military has deployed troopers to the area led by Technical Sgt. Junar Carpila for the construction of a detachment of the 52nd Infantry Battalion, just two kilometers away from their station.
Killed on the spot were Carpila and CAA members Mark Donald Lomuntad and Geremias Etcobañas.
Wounded were CAA members Edwin Adamero, Francis Legarse, Manny Maestre, Ronilo Porton, Jeffrey Pajanustan, and Helbert Pajanustan.
The military has yet to determine the number of enemy casualties during the 20-minute firefight.
In a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso III, commander of the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division condemned the treacherous attack by the NPA, disregarding the international humanitarian law that bans the use of landmines.
“The NPA insists on using anti-personnel mines that were already banned since 1997. This only shows the complete disregard of the NPA to humanitarian laws and a testament to their terroristic nature,” Diñoso said.
The latest attack, he said, is a desperate act of terrorists as the campaign to defeat them has “reached an irreversible stage.”
“With their backs against the wall, it is expected they will resort to their old barbaric ways," he said.
Diñoso assured the people of Eastern Visayas that the whole-of-nation approach to end a communist insurgency is on track.
“Let this small setback strengthen our resolve to finally put an end to the NPA and make the region attain the just and lasting peace it aspires. With that, our soldiers' ultimate sacrifices will not be in vain,” he added.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)