With six soldiers killed, 20 others wounded
BY: ROEL T. AMAZONA, JOEY A. GABIETA
TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Samar officials led by Rep. Maria Fe Abunda issued their strong condemnation on the killing of six soldiers and the wounding of 20 others by the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Borongan City on Monday (Nov.11).
The officials said that the deadly attack staged by the rebels against government forces would only further erode to any efforts to achieve peace in Eastern Samar, in particular.
The soldiers, all belonging to the 14th Infantry Battalion based in Oras, Eastern Samar, were ambushed by around 50 rebel members in sitio Bangin of Barangay Pinana-an, a remote coastal village of Borongan City, at past 5 pm.
While the government troops were able to engage the rebel members to a 36-minute firefight, they were still overwhelmed by their enemies who simultaneously detonated six improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
This resulted to the death of six soldiers and injured 20 others.One rebel member was confirmed to have been killed in the gun battle.
Rep. Abunda, in a statement, lamented that while making the province a peaceful and orderly one, this could not be achieved if atrocities will continue.
The congresswoman said that her office is open for a dialogue between the two warring groups that could lead to ending the armed struggle that has often been cited as among the reasons why Eastern Samar remain to be economically depressed.
Abunda expressed her condolences to the families of the six soldiers who died in the gunfight.
Killed during the firefight were Sgt.Rex Jadulco; Corporal Ronaldo Go; Cpl.Limar Banug; Private First Class Kent Loyd Agullo; Private Charlie del Rosario and Private First Class Junmar Buranday.
Injured were Sgt. Kenneth John Arcina; Sgt. Cyril Baja; Sgt. Rando Soria;Pfc Albert Abegonia;Pfc Denmark Gonsaza;Pfc Dandreb Gealon;Pfc Reil Bilason;Pfc Gilbert Renegado;Pfc Rex Batis;Pfc Jerwin Omrob;Pvt Darwin Aborquez;Pvt Joshua Pacuan;Pvt Roger Moore Ditche; Sgt Marlon Orsal;Cpl Dominador Antonio; Cpl Aljon Aguillos; Cpl Linlito Donayre; Pfc Mark Geric De Leon; Pfc Rene Abuda; and Pvt Jayson Beros.
Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda said that he is personally condemning the treacherous attack staged by the rebels who used the prohibited IEDs against the soldiers.
“I am personally condemning this incident, especially so that they used IEDs against the soldiers some of them could be young being just privates,” Agda said.
The city mayor, however, insisted that while the deadly encounter happened within the city, Borongan remain to be peaceful and orderly.
“It’s an isolated case. The area of incident occurred 30 kms away from the city proper and which could only be reached by a six-hour sea travel,” Agda said.
Also expressing his grief on the incident was Mayor Roland Boie Evardone of Arteche town, where one of the killed soldiers, Private First Class Agullo, was a resident.
Mayor Evardone, in a brief statement, shared that it was a ‘sad news’ for the whole town of Arteche to learn that one of its sons perished in a battle.
“Kent Lloyd is a son, a brother, a friend, a hero and a proud Artechehanon. Until his last breath, he made us proud to be an Artechehanon,” Mayor Evardone said.
“The LGU and the residents of our town are in grief with the news and we express our condolences with the family of soldiers who perished and praying for the speedy recovery of those who are wounded,” he added.
Mayor Evardone said that his administration will stand firm with their decision to declare the NPA as persona non grata in their town.
The municipal government passed a resolution on August 16 of this year condemning the relentless atrocities of the communist group and declaring them persona non grata.
And in a statement, the 8th Infantry Division, based in Catbalogan City and under the command of Major Gen. Pio Diñoso III, also condemned the attack as they honored the dead soldiers, calling them heroes for their gallantry and bravery.
”The heroes fought gallantly and bravely until the last breath and last drop of their blood,” it said.
The division will provide assistance to the families of the soldiers who were killed and wounded during the attack as they are now conducting their pursuit operations against the rebel members.
The division said that the soldiers were in the area to provide security to families who were said to have been victims of extortion in the form of money and food stuff by the NPA.
Major Gen. Diñoso earlier said that they are determined to end Eastern Visayas’ insurgency problem by 2020 as mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte.