By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN City – Six soldiers were killed and 20 others were reported wounded in an encounter with suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Bangon, Brgy Pinanag-an, Borongan City Monday night. An NPA rebel was likewise killed.
Captain Reynaldo Aragones, Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (8ID) spokesperson, said three platoons from the Alpha and Charlie companies of the 14th Infantry Battalion (14IB) were conducting combat operations at Sitio Bangon, Barangay Pinana-an around 5 p.m. when they encountered around 50 heavily armed NPA suspects.
“We received a report from a civilian about the presence of armed NPAs who are extorting money and demanding food in the area so our troops responded,” Aragones said.
The soldiers reportedly perished when six improvised explosive device (IEDs) planted by the rebels exploded just as the troops were trading bullets with the enemies.
The gunfight lasted for 30 minutes.
Killed were Sgt. Rex Jadulco, Cpl. Ronald Go, Cpl. Limar Banug, Pfc. Kent Loyd Agullo, Pvt. Charlie P Del Rosario, and Pfc. Junmar D Buranday.
Wounded were Sgt. Kenneth John Arcina, Sgt. Cyril Baja, Sgt. Rando Soria, PFC. Albert Abegonia, PFC. Denmark Gonsaza, PFC. Dandreb Gealon, PFC. Reil Bilason, PFC. Gilbert Renegado, PFC. Rex Batis, PFC. Jerwin Omrob, Pvt. Darwin Aborquez, Pvt. Joshua Pacuan, Pvt. Roger moore Ditche, Sgt. Marlon Orsal, Cpl. Dominador Antonio, Cpl. Aljon Aguillos, Cpl. Linlito Donayre, PFC. Mark Geric De Leon, PFC. Rene Abuda, and Pvt. Jayson Beros
Authorities have yet to identify the slain rebel.
Aragones said the military had difficulty evacuating the casualties due to the location of the encounter site. A helicopter airlifted the casualties and the wounded to a hospital for treatment. (With a report from Martin Sadongdong)