By ELENA L. ABEN
Philippines – Five people, including four Army soldiers and a civilian, were killed in a noontime attack by New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents in a remote village of Labo town, Camarines Norte, during the weekend, the military said.
One of the slain troopers was even holding the Philippine Flag in his chest when found by his fellow soldi00ers.
Major Harold Cabunoc, the Philippine Army spokesman, said a 10-man peace and development team of the 49th Infantry Battalion were conducting community work with residents of Barangay Maot when they were suddenly attacked by at least 50 NPA rebels coming from various directions at around 12:30 p.m.
According to the spokesman, the commander of the slain soldiers, Lt Col. Epimaco Macalisang, said his troops fought back and engaged the insurgents in a firefight that raged for at least an hour.
Overwhelmed by the enemy, the soldiers suffered casualties, yet they continuously held their ground until the rebels decided to withdraw dragging along their casualties, said Cabnoc.
After the smoke has cleared, four Army troopers and a local resident who was caught in the crossfire lay dead.
Killed in the attack were Corporal Amado A. Perillo, Private First Class Paulo Orticio, Private First Class Teodoro C. Ojeda, and Private First Class Sonecio D. Potian.
“Corporal Perillo was even holding the Philippine Flag in his chest when we recovered his lifeless body,” said 1Lt. Alfie Lee, one of the first to reinforce in the area.
The civilian fatality was identified as Francisco Ruales, 49.
Two others, one civilian and a soldier, sustained wounds and were immediately evacuated to the Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital in Daet town. They are Marlo Matibang Private First Class Leland L. Besada, who sustained a gunshot wound in the neck.
1Lt. Eric Estrevillo, head of the attacked Army PDT, said he and another soldier were at the vicinity of the barangay hall while their other companions were conducting house to house dialogue nearby. Another trooper was at the village outpost when the attacked happened.
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