By KIMBERLIE OLMAYA NGABIT-QUITASOL with reports from PIA
BAGUIO CITY — Three government troopers were killed and four others were wounded after the Nona Del Rosario Command of the New Peoples Army (NPA)-Ifugao ambushed contingents of the 86th Infantry Battalion at around 10:30 AM on February 26 in Asipulo, Ifugao.
Ifugao Provincial Police Director, Police Senior Superintendent Laurence Mombael said the NPA attacked a platoon of soldiers who were conducting a combat and clearing operation. He, quoting witnesses, said the ambush was a swift five-minute fire fight.
Mombael disclosed that the bodies of Corporal Normandy Maravilla, Private Norie Cahena, and Private Wendell Clemente were airlifted and brought to a funeral parlor in Isabela province. He identified the injured as Private First Class John Paul Gorospe, Alfredo Liclican, Jonel Canabang, and Frank Liw-agan.
In an emailed press release, NPA-Ifugao Spokesperson Ka Wigan Moncontad said the ambush was his unit’s response to the Party’s call for the NPA to launch more tactical offensives against the Philippine Army.
Moncontad in the release asserted that the NPA guerillas adhered to the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) during the ambush. He said the government troopers entered their area of responsibility fully armed for battle in pursuit of NPA guerillas. He added that the soldiers have been frequenting the area for two months now.
The NPA has not reported any casualty in their press release.
On the other hand Col. Miguel Puyao, civil military operations officer of the Army’s 5th Infantry Division claimed that the troopers, led by 2nd Lieutenant Mark Anthony Bernardino, were on their way to a barrio to conduct a humanitarian mission when attacked. # nordis.net