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1 cop dead, 5 hurt in rebel attack in N. Samar

April 4, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 272 views

HEAVILY-ARMED New People’s Army (NPA) rebels attacked a group of Police and Army troopers involved in a government community support program in Las Navas, Northern Samar, around 1:00 a.m. Monday, killing a policeman and injuring five other government troops, Police Regional Office 8 (PRO 8) Director Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac said.

The official said that the victims have just finished their activities with a PRO 8-led “Revitalized Community Support Program” in Bgy. Osang in Catubig municipality and were on their way to their headquarters to receive their COVID-19 booster shots when they were ambushed by the guerrillas in Bgy. San Miguel in Las Navas town.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Dionardo B. Carlos condemned the latest NPA attack in the countryside, which came in the wake of their stepped-up effort to go after all private armed groups and loose firearms that could be used to disrupt the holding of the May 9 national and local elections.

The guerrillas reportedly staged the ambush to thwart efforts by the police and the military to provide government service to residents of so-called “Geographically Isolated and Disadvantageous Areas” in Eastern Visayas, which are known to be being taken advantage of by the NPA movement to recruit members and other supporters.

A PRO 8 investigation showed that the rebels first detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) which struck the troops’ vehicle before firing at the lawmen with their automatic rifles.

As a result, Patrolman Harvie Lovino, a 30-year-old member of the Northern Samar 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company based in Catarman municipality, was killed while his colleagues, Pat. Rico Borja, 31, and Pat. Leandro Luciano Bulosan, 25, and three members of the Philippine Army identified as Corporal Arvin Papon and Privates First Class Whilydel Jic Rodona, and Wilmer del Monte were wounded.

Brig. Gen. Banac said that the troopers managed to return fire and inflict some casualties on the side of their attackers.

“My men are still checking all nearby hospitals and clinics and will investigate any person with gunshot wounds and other injuries,” he said.

Responding officers from the Las Navas Municipal Police Station led by Lt. Ariel Baldoza brought the remains of the slain policeman to the Las Navas Regional Health Unit for a post-mortem examination, while the wounded were taken to the Catarman Doctors Hospital for treatment.

The PRO 8 director said that they have requested the assistance of the PNP Forensic Group in processing the crime scene and the help of the local Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Division in conducting a post-blast investigation.

“We will be filing appropriate criminal charges against the suspects as soon as we have identified them,” Brig. Gen. Banac said. Alfred Dalizon