AN Army lieutenant was killed in a firefight with communist New People’s Army rebels in Malibcong town in Abra on Monday morning, the military reported Tuesday.
Slain was 2Lt. Zaldy Lapis, a platoon leader from the Army’s 72nd Division Reconnaissance Company, said Maj. Rogelio Dumbrigue Jr., civil military operations officer of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija.
Dumbrigue said troops from the 72nd DRC and 24th Infantry Battalion conducted security operations in Barangay Pacqued after receiving reports from civilians about the presence of rebels in the area.
During the patrol at around 8:30 a.m., Dumbrigue said about 15 rebels from the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya-North Abra opened fire at the soldiers, triggering a one-and-a-half-hour of firefight.
During the encounter, Dumbrigue said Lapiz was hit by sniper fire in the armpit area, causing the junior officer’s death.
He said the rebels suffered undetermined number of casualties.
Dumbrigue said pursuit operations were ongoing against the rebels as of yesterday.
“The Army leadership is determined to finish them off if they are not going to surrender,” he said.