7 hurt as NPA rebels set off landmine, ambush Army tank in Laguna
SAN PEDRO CITY – Five Philippine Army personnel and two civilians were wounded after New People’s Army (NPA) rebels ambushed two military vehicles by setting off a landmine in Luisiana town in Laguna province on Wednesday afternoon.
Supt. Chitadel Gaoiran, spokesperson of the police in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (CALABARZON), said the clash in Luisiana, which is believed to be a continuation of an earlier encounter with the insurgents in Lucban, Quezon at noon, started around 3 p.m. on the boundary of villages San Antonio and San Jose.
Initial police reports said two military vehicles, one of them a V-150 Armored Personnel Carrier tank, were traversing the Cavinti-Luisiana road when a landmine exploded. This prompted the gun battle between the government forces and the rebels, believed to be “prepositioned” in the area prior the blast.
Sergeants Marvin Bagaboro, Zaldy Lebantino, Teejay Antonio, Jeff Ray Gatlabayan of the 202nd Infantry Battalion, and Domingo Garcillas, a member of the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit were wounded. Two civilians whose identities were not immediately known were also hurt.
The damage on the vehicles is still undetermined.
Meanwhile, motorists in the vicinity likened the scene to a coup d’etat. Others also noted several police checkpoints set up in Luisiana and Cavinti towns.
Major Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said the communist guerillas who detonated the improvised explosive device were wearing Army uniforms.
Citing reports from civilians residing near the encounter site, Parayno said the escaping rebels were carrying three wounded comrades.
Parayno also said soldiers engaged another group of NPA rebels in Lucban town late afternoon. The firefight was still ongoing at around 6:45 p.m. JE
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