CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City - Landmines detonated by the alleged members of the New People's Army (NPA) killed one soldier, two Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary(CAA) and injured one while they were on their way to Brgy Tigbawon, Gandara Samar last April 18, 2013, at around 6:30 am.
In a report from Colonel Dante Barotilla, Commanding Officer of the Army's 52nd Infantry Battalion (IB), 8th Infantry Division (ID), his troops from Purog CAA Detachment, Charlie Company, 52IB led by Sgt Ronald Dalumpines were conducting routine security operations when a civilian in the nearby barangay informed Dalumpines regarding the presence of armed men in the said barangay who were removing posters of local candidates and changing them with the posters of party list candidates.
When Dalumpines and his troops arrived in the vicinity of the barangay where the armed men were reportedly seen, three landmines exploded followed by burst of fire from automatic weapons targeting the troops which caused the death of one soldier and two CAAs.
Dalumpines and his men reportedly encountered around 30 NPA personnel. The fire fight lasted for about 30 minutes, after which the enemy withdrew towards barangay San Antonio of same municipality bringing with them casualties.
"This incident will not stop us to go after the perpetrators (NPAs) not only to honor the sacrifices of our fallen comrades but more importantly to keep our communities of peace-loving people secure and away from harm," Barotilla said,
Meanwhile, Capt. Amado Gutierrez, the Chief Public Affairs officer of 8ID disclosed that the recent incident which he described as a dastardly act of violence by the NPA is brazenly a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement On Respect For Human Rights And International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIL) as stipulated in Part III, Article 2, Section 15 of the accord which prohibits the use of landmine, and other laws on warfare."
"This only proves once again the treachery that characterizes the NPAs," Gutierrez said.
Moreover, Major General Gerardo T. Layug, Commander, 8ID stressed that the incident will not in any way deter the military to pursue the mandate entrusted to us "but rather steel our resolve to 'Win the Peace' in Eastern Visayas for the benefit of our people we have sworn to serve and secure."
"We salute the heroism of our troops who unfortunately paid the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of that lasting peace so that sustainable development will be attained for our people in this part of our country," Layug added.