6 soldiers wounded in NPA landmine blast in Northern Samar

TACLOBAN CITY – Six soldiers of the Army 20th Infantry "We Lead" Battalion (IB) were wounded in a landmine attack by the New People’s Army in Barangay Quirino, Las Navas, Northern Samar on Sunday, Dec. 18.

Communist guerillas detonated anti-personnel mines (APMs) against the Mobile Community Support and Sustainment Program (MCSSP) teams of the 20th IB securing a water system project.

Lt. Col. Joemar Burban, 20th IB commander, said that Quirino is among the seven barangays in Las Navas that are recipients of the Support to Barangay Development Program 2022 as part of the National Task Force-ELCAC program.

"The 20th IB has been doing its best to help the former conflict-affected barangays through our Mobile Community Support and Sustainment Program teams to achieve long-lasting peace and sustainable development in Northern Samar," Buban said.

Quirino was also set to receive a Level II Water System Project after the groundbreaking ceremony in Barangay Magsaysay, Las Navas on Dec. 16.

Major Gen. Camilo Ligayo, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, said the continued use by the NPA of prohibited APMs is a blatant disregard of international humanitarian law that deserves their highest level of condemnation.

Last April 3, the NPA allegedly used APMs against the CSP teams of the 20th IB in Barangay San Miguel, also in Las Navas. Two policemen were killed and four others were wounded.

Three months later on July 5, seven soldiers were wounded in another APM incident in Barangay Magsaysay, Mapanas, Northern Samar.

Days later on July 19, a soldier was killed and five others were wounded in an APM attack in Barangay Osang in Catubig, Northern Samar.

Meanwhile, Burban called on the Commission of Human Rights to investigate and make a statement on the violations of the Ottawa Convention, International Humanitarian Law, and the Republic Act 9851 (Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and other Crimes Against Humanity) allegedly committed by the NPA in the province.