Alleged NPA rebels attack soldiers getting relief goods in Samar
CALBAYOG CITY, Samar—Two soldiers were wounded in an ambush on Friday shortly after delivering relief goods to Northern Samar which was reeling from devastation caused by Typhoon “Nona.”
At least 32 soldiers, along with two personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), were on their way back to Tacloban City, Leyte to pick up another batch of relief goods when they were fired upon by at least 10 alleged communist rebels in Barangay (village) Pahug, Pinabacdao town, Samar, around 7:30 a.m.
Captain Isagani Viernes, information officer of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, said the two DSWD personnel were not hurt.
Wounded were Private First Class Jay Cercado and PFC Roel Daluata who were both hit in the legs.
Viernes said the soldiers belong to the 546 Engineering Battalion, which is based in Borongan City, Eastern Samar. However, they are now stationed at Cancabato, San Jose.
He lamented that the soldiers were on a humanitarian mission but were attacked by the New People’s Army (NPA).
“This incident clearly shows the NPA’s disregard to peace and development,” he said.
Viernes pointed out that the 32 soldiers, along with DSWD personnel, were on board three military trucks to ferry relief goods to the typhoon victims.
After delivering the relief goods to Northern Samar, the soldiers were heading back to the Office of Civil Defense in Eastern Visayas in Tacloban City, about 260 km from Northern Samar, to pick up additional relief goods. However, they were ambushed along the way.
The firefight lasted for about 45 minutes. Recovered from the ambush site were more than 20 empty shells of M14 and M16 rifles.
Northern Samar was under a state of calamity due to devastation caused by Nona, the strongest typhoon to hit the province this year.
The province remained without power since December 14, when Nona hit Northern Samar.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines was doubling its work to restore power at least in the capital town of Catarman.
Communication lines were partly restored but remained unstable.
Reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) showed that at least P743 million worth of infrastructure and P900.69 million worth of crops were damaged due to Nona.
Nona affected 124,274 families comprising 576,194 after its strong winds and rains destroyed 90,666 houses and damaged 71,131 others, report from the PDRRMO said.
The same report showed that all 13 banks in Catarman had started to partially operate beginning Thursday.
However, banking hours were only from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Several business establishments in Catarman had also resumed operation, using their generator sets as power source.
However, the town’s only shopping mall, Gaisano Grand, which opened just last month, remained closed due to the damage it sustained.
Policemen and Army soldiers had been deployed to keep the peace and avoid looting similar to what happened in Tacloban City, Leyte where looting occurred a day after the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last Nov. 8, 2013. RAM
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