Six soldiers were killed and 20 others were wounded in a fierce gun battle with 50 New People’s Army rebels in a forested upland village in Borongan, Eastern Samar, Monday afternoon.
Capt. Reynaldo Aragones, public affairs chief of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said the slain soldiers were killed by landmines that the rebels detonated before the firefight.
The three platoons of soldiers from the Army’s 14th Infantry Battalion suffered heavy casualties after the simultaneous explosions followed by a 30-minute gun battle with 50 NPA fighters around 5 p.m. on Monday, according to initial reports reaching the Philippine National Police regional office in Tacloban City.
Killed were Sgt. Rex Jadulco, Cpl. Ronald Go, Cpl. Limar Banug, Pfc. Kent Loyd Agullo, Pvt. Charlie del Rosario, and Pfc. Junmar Buranday.
An NPA rebel was also killed during the armed encounter.
The 20 wounded soldiers were airlifted to Camp Lukban station hospital in Catbalogan City in Samar inside the headquarters of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division.
Pinanag-an Village, the site of the firefight, is about 22 kilometers upland from Borongan City.
The site is very remote with an air distance of 12 kilometers from upland Canloterio village, the nearest point accessible to vehicles.
The military was still conducting clearing and retrieval operations as of Tuesday morning.
The military has repeatedly condemned the NPA for using landmines in their attacks. The NPA attack also disregards the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the military said.
Eastern Visayas, particularly Samar Island, remains a hotbed of insurgency with the continued presence of communist rebels.
Aragones said the soldiers were responding to persistent reports of NPA terrorists extorting money and food from farmers in the hinterlands of Brgy Pinanag-an and adjacent villages. With PNA
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