THE military reported three cases of ceasefire violations committed by the communist New People’s Army since Sunday, including Tuesday’s ambush in Lambunao town in Iloilo, which led to the death of a soldier.
Troops under the Army’s 301st Brigade were on security patrol and information dissemination for the COVID-19 pandemic when they were waylaid by the communists in Sitio Aguilan, Barangay Panuran at around 5:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Capt. Cherry Gervacio, 301st Brigade spokeswoman, said the military received information from concerned citizens about a week ago about the presence of rebels conducting extortion activities in the area.
The Communist Party of the Philippines declared a unilateral ceasefire from March 25 to April 15 in response to the United Nations call for a global ceasefire amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Duterte declared the government’s unilateral ceasefire, from March 19 to April 15, before the UN call as policemen and soldiers are focused on implementing the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and in parts of the Visayas and Mindanao as part of efforts against the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the military claimed to have foiled two bombing attempts by the NPA in Samar and Quezon on Monday and Sunday, also in violation of the rebel ceasefire.
In Samar, four improvised bombs were recovered by troops from the Army’s 46th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Hubasan in Calbigan town on Monday.
Capt. Reynaldo Aragones, spokesman of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Samar, said the bombs were placed along the only trail connecting Barangay Hubasan and Barangay Binanggatan, also in Calbigan town.
He said the bombs were meant for the ambush of the 46th IB soldiers who are serving as COVID-19 frontliners.
In Quezon, troops from the 1st Infantry Battalion recovered an improvised bomb left by the NPA near a quarantine control point or checkpoint in Barangay Llavac in Real town on Sunday.
Capt. Jayrald Ternio, spokesman of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division in Rizal, said two NPA rebels left the bomb, with four blasting caps, to evade soldiers who were manning the checkpoint.
Ternio also reported the recovery of six grenades and six grenade rifles in Barangay Biga in Pola, Oriental Mindoro also on Monday.
“Intelligence units believe that the explosives were pre-positioned by NPAs operating in the area as part of their planned offensives against government forces performing COVID-related missions,” said Ternio.