OPAPRU chief Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) on Friday said the death of two police officers in the ambush in Ampatuan, Maguindanao is a call to further beef up peacebuilding efforts.

"The passing of Lt. (Reynaldo) Samson and Cpl. (Salipudin) Endab should serve as a clarion call for all of us to continue strengthening our peacebuilding efforts so that no one should lose their lives to the barrel of a gun," OPAPRU chief Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a statement.

Galvez also condemned the attack, adding that the OPAPRU stands behind the families and colleagues of the fallen police officers.

The OPAPRU chief also assured the victims' families that the perpetrators will be brought to justice and be held accountable for their crimes.

"Thank you for your outstanding service, as you carried out your duties with the highest level of commitment. Your sacrifices will not be forgotten," Galvez said.

Samson, the Ampatuan town police chief, and Endab were killed after they were waylaid by still unidentified armed assailants while on their way to serve an arrest warrant on a wanted person in Barangay Kapinpilan on the morning of Aug. 30.

Three other police officers were also wounded in the ambush.

Galvez said the deaths of Samson and Endad are a grim reminder that lawless elements would not hesitate to wreak havoc on the people and that this must be immediately and decisively addressed by the government.

Galvez said a manhunt has been launched by authorities against the suspected gunmen with the help of the Government of the Philippines-Moro Islamic Liberation Front Ceasefire Mechanisms and support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"The area of the incident is believed to have a presence of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) terrorist group and other lawless elements," he added. (PNA)