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NDRRMC, AFP condemn ambush of relief convoy

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - December 18, 2015 - 2:08am

MANILA, Philippines  — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the military on Friday condemned the attack against soldiers who delivered relief goods to storm-hit communities in Eastern Samar.

Troops from the 546th Engineering Battalion and the 83rd Reconnaissance Company were waylaid by suspected communist rebels in Pinabacdao, Samar at around 7:20 a.m. Friday.

Two soldiers were wounded during the incident, which happened three days after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared a unilateral truce that will take effect from December 23 to January 3 next year.

Two employees of the Social Welfare department were with the soldiers in the three-truck convoy of a M35 vehicle, a Mignon Civilian Vehicle and a mini-dump truck.

"Magkaroon sana kayo ng kunsensya (I hope you will have a conscience)," NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama said, referring to the suspected New People's Army (NPA) members who staged the ambush.

"Whatever foolishness you are thinking, take time out from it. We are working hard here but some people who lack attention are intervening," he added.

The soldiers and social welfare personnel transported goods to Eastern Samar and were on their way back to Office of the Civil Defense Region 8 in Tacloban City when the ambush happened.

A 15-minute firefight ensued after the ambush, leaving two soldiers wounded.
"This clearly shows the NPA's disregard to the plight of our brothers and sisters in Samar who were devastated by the onslaught of storm Nona," Armed Forces spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said.

"Rest assured that this attack will not hamper our ongoing HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster response) operations for the victims of ‘Nona' who are in need of our help. We will continue with our relief and assistance operations for the victims of the typhoon," he added.

The attack happened five days before the 12-day unilateral holiday ceasefire declared by the CPP takes effect. The truce was declared to support the resumption of the stalled peace talks between the communist rebels and the government. The Philippine government has yet to reciprocate the CPP's ceasefire declaration.

ARMED FORCES COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES EASTERN SAMAR ENGINEERING BATTALION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ALEXANDER PAMA MIGNON CIVILIAN VEHICLE NATIONAL DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT COUNCIL NEW PEOPLE OFFICE OF THE CIVIL DEFENSE REGION QUOT SAMAR
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