TACLOBAN CITY – Following the reported burning of P32-million worth of heavy equipment in Las Navas, Northern Samar by alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA), a member of the 83rd Military Intelligence Company (MICO) of the Philippine Army was killed while two companions were wounded after ten suspected armed guerillas waylaid them in Baragay Dolores, Las Navas while conducting a follow-up on the torching incident.
Las Navas chief of police Police Lt. Ariel Baldoza identified the casualty as Staff Sgt. Leopoldo Omanito Jr. while wounded-in-action were Corporals Argie A. Solayao and Jayson B. Bautista.
Initial investigation disclosed that the MICO personnel were on their way to Barangay San Francisco to investigate the torching of nine heavy equipment set on fire by suspected NPA terrorists Wednesday, July 28.
However, when the MICO personnel arrived in the area on board single motorcycles, 10 armed guerillas opened fire at them.
An exchange of fire occurred for at least two minutes until the armed men left the area. The soldiers sustained multiple bullet wounds.
Locals and passersby who were in the area assisted the three military personnel and brought them to the Rural Health Unit of Las Navas where they were given first aid before they were taken to the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital in Catarman, Northern Samar, some 78 kilometers away from the municipality.
Omanito died while being treated while the two wounded MICO personnel are still being attended in the hospital.
Meanwhile, 8th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Pio Q. Diñoso III denounced the CTGs’ burning of construction equipment in Northern Samar.
He assured all Samarnons that the Army will continue to work closely with the people to ensure that government projects are completed and delivered to the people.
“There could only be one reason for this arson, their demand for money and more money have not been met as contractors have had enough of this terrorist extortion. Nonetheless, the contractors will not be cowed and have pledged to not give in to terrorists’ demands,” he said.