NPA denies responsibility on the killing

TACLOBAN CITY-A nine-year old boy died after he was hit by an improvised explosive device(IED) perpetrated by alleged members of the rebel group, the New People’s Army(NPA) in a remote village in Las Navas, Northern Samar on Wednesday(April 17) morning.
The boy was identified as Armando Remolde who happened to be in the area where the soldiers belonging to the 20th Infantry Battalion were positioned.
Lt. Col. Juan Gullem, the commanding officer of the said battalion, said that the incident happened at about 9:45 am in Barangay San Miguel.
In a phone interview, Gullem said that the rebels lobbed the IEDs towards the direction of the soldiers led by Lt.Ramil Sumawang.
“Unfortunately, it was the boy who was fatally hit by the IED.One of our men trained on survival skills tried to revive him but he was already dead,”Gullem said.
None of the soldiers sustained injury due to the blast.
According to Gullem, his men could not just fire back as they were concerned that civilians in the village, 13 kms away from the town proper of Las Navas, might be hit.
“We strongly condemned this atrocity committed by the communist terrorist group. They are so desperate that they did not even considered that we are observing the Holy Week,” Gullem said.
The soldiers were in the village as part of their community support program wherein they talk with the villagers on their concerns.
But in a press statement, the NPA through its Efren Martires Command denied that they were responsible on this incident, saying they do not target civilians.
“Whenever the NPA does commit mistakes, it takes responsibility and ensures justice and indemnification for any victims and the accountability of the erring NPA members. Let us thus wait for the official report of the responsible NPA command in the province and be critical of the anti-NPA and fascist propaganda of the Duterte regime and its Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said EMC spokesperson Ka Karlos Manuel.
Despite of the attack, Gullem urged the rebels to stop their terror acts and avail the program being offered by the government for rebel returnees.
“I call on them to return to the folds of the law and enjoy the privilege that the government offers to them under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program where they can receive some financial assistance which they can use for them to live a normal life, “Gullem said.(RONALD O.REYES/(JOEY A. GABIETA)