PNP denounces NPA landmine attack killing Samar cop

April 6, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 583 views

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership on Wednesday condemned the New People’s Army (NPA) anew for its continued use of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in attacking security troops in the countryside as a 2nd policeman died in an NPA attack in Las Navas, Northern Samar last Monday.

Patrolman Rico Borja, 31, a member of the 1st Northern Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC), suffered multiple shrapnel wounds in the different parts of the body during the 1:00 a.m. attack last April 4 and passed away at the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital while undergoing treatment, said Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) Director, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac.

Initially killed during the ambush was Pat. Harvie Lovino, a 30-year old member of the Northern Samar 1st PMFC, based in Catarman municipality.

Lobino’s colleagues, Pat. Borja 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 in the attack.

However, Borja passed away due to the severity of his injuries. The rest of the victims have already been declared in a safe condition, said Brig. Gen. Banac.

“We mourn the death of two PRO8 personnel who were merely performing their job when hit by the powerful IED planted by the rebels along the road. This attack is really highly-condemnable,” the official said.

The PRO8 investigation showed that the rebels first detonated an IED that struck the troops’ vehicle in Barangay San Miguel in Las Navas municipality before firing at the lawmen with their automatic rifles.

The PNP leadership headed by Gen. Dionardo B. Carlos and the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) has repeatedly condemned the NPA’s continued use of landmines and IEDs, which they said is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law or IHL as it kills and maims even civilians.

In June last year, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also backed the government’s call for the NPA to surrender those behind an IED explosion in Masbate City that killed FEO and national football team player Kieth Absalon and his cousin.

The IHL is a set of rules to limit the effects of armed conflict and protect civilians who are not participating in the hostilities. It also restricts the means and methods of warfare.

Security officials have claimed that in several incidents, NPA rebels in Bicol and some parts of Caraga region have used IEDs in attacking targets, civilians included.

Police and Army officials in Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte in 2020 said that the discovery of bomb-making materials in an abandoned NPA lair in the province is proof that the NPA is still using IEDs in complete violation of IH and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the Ottawa Treaty under the Geneva Convention.

On Monday, Brig. Gen. Banac said that NPA guerrillas attacked the soldiers and policemen involved in a government community support program in Las Navas, Northern Samar.

The official said that the victims have just finished their activities in relation to a PRO8-led Revitalized Community Support Program in By. 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.

Gen. 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 ambush was reportedly staged by the guerrillas 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 PRO8 investigation showed that the rebels first detonated an improvised explosive device that struck the troops’ vehicle before firing at the lawmen with their automatic rifles.

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

“We will be filing appropriate criminal charges against the suspects as soon as we have identified them,” the Eastern Visayas police director said.