NPA ambushes soldiers involved in SAR of downed Cessna plane; 2 dead

Two soldiers who were buying supplies for the search team involved in search and rescue operations on a crashed Cessna plane in Albay were killed when they were ambushed by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on Monday, Feb. 20.

Photo: 9th Infantry Division / 9ID

Captain German Franco Roldan, officer in charge of the 9th Infantry Division (9ID) public affairs office, identified the victims as Privates John Paul Adalim and Mark June Esico, both assigned at the 31st Infantry Battalion.

A report reaching Camp Aguinaldo said the troops were buying supplies at a market in Brgy. Cotmon in Camalig town when they were ambushed around 7 a.m. by five unidentified gunmen believed to be communist guerillas.

The soldiers died on the spot after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds in the body.

The supplies were intended for the search team assigned to retrieve the wreckage of Cessna RPC340 that were found in a forested area in the boundary of Guinobatan and Camalig towns over the weekend. The plane crashed near the summit of the crater of Mt. Mayon last Feb. 18 while carrying four passengers including two Australians.

Maj. Gen. Adonis Bajao, 9ID commander and head of the Joint Task Force Bicolandia, condemned the NPA for their treacherous attcak which led to the death of the two young servicemen.

“Pagpapakita ito ng kaduwagan at kawalan ng respeto sa karapatang pantao sa pamamagitan ng pagkitil ng buhay ng mga sundalong nakatalaga sanang magpaabot ng tulong at magsalba ng buhay ng atin mga kababayan (This shows their cowardice and lack of respect to human rights by killing the soldiers who were assigned to extend help and save lives of our countrymen),” Bajao said.