NPA rebels ambush military troops delivering relief goods in Northern Samar

Manila, Philippines – The New People’s Army (NPA) rebels ambushed military troops delivering food supply to families affected by tropical storm “Urduja”.

About 50 rebels intercepted the soldiers while on their way to deliver relief in Catubig town of Northern Samar on Saturday.

Two soldiers were wounded during the clash, says a civil-military operations officer.

The NPA rebels ambush the troops under the Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion (20IB) at around 3:20 P.M. and the fight lasted for one hour and 25 minutes along Barangary Hinagoyonan.

According to civil military operations officer Second Lieutenant Michelle Estares, the wounded soldiers were immediately taken to the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital. They were identified as Corporal Yzazel Laure and Private First-Class Ronald Gomez.

The operations officer expressed disappointment about the incident.

“It is unfortunate and sad that our soldiers were engaged by terrorist NPAs while serving the people. Our troops were there to conduct HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) as part of our responsibility to conduct disaster rescue operation and help people who need assistance during a disaster,” Estares said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMC) also condemned the incident.

“This is not an armed conflict, this is not a campaign on anything. I hope that the NPA [rebels]would understand that what they did was not good” very wrong,” says  NDRRMC spokesperson Romina Marasigan in a phone interview.

“If they were the victims of any natural disaster, the government would have done the same thing to them – which is, provide them with what they need during a time of calamity,” she added.

A total of 51, 004 families were affected by Urduja, out of the said number, 20, 389 families are being served by the NDRRMC.

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