Police Officer 1 Ringy Boy Tomale receives a PNP wounded personnel medal from Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar at his bedside at the DWU Hospital. Tomale engaged in a firefight with alleged private armed group members in Sta. Margarita town, Samar. (SARWELL Q. MENIANO/PNA)

TACLOBAN CITY- The Philippine National Police (PNP) has recognized the bravery of a junior police officer who was wounded during a hot pursuit operation against alleged members of private armed groups in Sta. Margarita, Samar.
PNP Eastern Visayas Regional Director Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar pinned the medal to Police Officer 1 Ringy Boy Tomale assigned at the Provincial Public Safety Company based in Catbalogan City at his hospital room at the Divine Word Hospital Wednesday (July 26) night.
Tomale was wounded in his left arm while chasing alleged members of a private army on the night of July 23 in Barangay Lambao, Sta. Margarita town.
The lawless group was tagged as suspects in the killing of a farmer in Brgy. Bahay earlier on the same day.
“Although one of our police was injured, the hot pursuit operation killed a (member of a) private army and arrested two of his wounded companions,” Beltejar told reporters.
“This is a major breakthrough against private armed groups. The two arrested persons have vital information and we expect them to tell us about their handlers,” he added.
The police also recovered assorted firearms and ammunition during the operation.
Tomale, who joined the police in 2013, thanked the PNP for the wounded personnel medal.
“I am more determined to help in any effort to disband all members of private armed groups in Samar. I want my home province to be peaceful,” Tomale said.
Last year, the government launched a crackdown against private armies in Samar in its bid to end election-related violence. The group is being used by some politicians to harass their opponents, according to the police.
Recently, the PNP filed cases against large members of Deborbon private armed groups allegedly involved in the latest shooting incident.
Major follow up operations will be done by the Samar police provincial office to hunt down identified private armies.