By Martin Sadongdong
The military condemned on Saturday the ambush perpetrated by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Borongan, Eastern Samar that led to the death of a cop and an elderly woman, and wounding of several persons.
Major General Pio Diñoso III, commander of the 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division (8ID) based in Catbalogan, Samar, said the attack proves that the communist group does not “respect human rights and recognize human lives.”
“Mariing kinokondena ng 8th Infantry Division ang pag-atake ng CPP – NPA – Terrorists (CNTs) gamit ang improvised explosive device (IED) na kumitil ng dalawang buhay (The 8th Infantry Division condemns in the strongest terms the attack conducted by the Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA – Terrorists using an improvised explosive device that led to the death of two persons),” Diñoso said in a statement.
“Nagpapatunay lamang ito na hindi sila kumikilala ng mga sibilyan. Wala silang paggalang sa karapatang pantao. Higit sa lahat wala silang pahalaga sa buhay kahit na sa mga inosenteng mga bata. Wala silang konsensya (This only proves that they do not know how to recognize civilian lives. They do not respect human rights. Most of all, they do not value human lives even that of an innocent child. They have no conscience),” he added.
The attack occurred around 3 p.m. Friday at Barangay Libuton just as members of the 1st Eastern Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company (ESPMFC) were travelling to the Eastern Samar Provincial Police Office in Palo, Leyte from their quarters in Dolores, Eastern Samar.
According to a police report, the cops were on board a patrol car when a suspected IED suddenly exploded at the roadside, hitting them and a tricycle full of passengers.
The blast sent the patrol car down a grassy portion of the road where they were peppered with bullets by the rebels, the report added.
The incident killed Patrolman Mike Rama, of the 1st ESPMFC, while four of his colleagues were injured. Two other cops were unhurt.
Meanwhile, there were varying reports as to the number of civilian casualties.
The military said 15 civilians including a one-year-old girl, and two boys, aged 6 and 13, were hurt in the incident.
The police, on the other hand, identified 12 civilian casualties, including 69-year-old Agripena Traboco, who died in the attack.
Diñoso claimed that the ambush was part of the NPA’s celebration of the 51st anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26.
“Sa halip na magsaya ngayong pasko ay luksa at pasakit ang dulot ng mga teroristang NPA sa mga pamilya ng mga biktima (Instead of joy this Christmas season, the NPA terrorists brought pain to the families of the victims),” he said.
The military official extended his condolences to the grieving families as he vowed that the 8th ID will intensify its efforts to rid the region of NPAs.