NPAs strike anew, kill 8 in Mindoro ambuscades
- Joe Leuterio, Rene Alviar () - August 22, 2003 - 12:00am
BONGABONG, Oriental Mindoro — Communist guerrillas killed six soldiers, a policeman and a barangay councilman in two ambuscades here and in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro the other day, authorities said.

That same day, New People’s Army (NPA) rebels operating in Davao Oriental waylaid and killed five personnel of the Army’s 534th Engineering Battalion.

Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesman of the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command, justified yesterday the killing of the five non-combatants, claiming they were also involved in intelligence work for the military.

The slain personnel of the 534th EB, which has been widening a five-kilometer road in Barangay Binondo in Baganga, Davao Oriental, were on their way to a quarry site when their vehicle ran over a land mine, after which the rebels fired at them.

The twin Mindoro ambuscades occurred nearly three hours’ apart last Tuesday.

At about 10 a.m., two teams of Sablayan policemen and Army soldiers were on their way back to the police headquarters after serving warrants of arrest to two suspected drug pushers when some 30 guerrillas ambushed them.

Senior Superintendent Alejandro Lapinid, police director of Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), identified the fatalities as S/Sgt. Solomon Oliman and Pfc. Gerry Romero, both of the Army’s 16th Infantry Battalion; PO3 Alfredo Romera, of the Sablayan police; and Ariel Alfaro, councilman of Barangay San Agustin.

The arrival of reinforcements from the Sablayan police and the provincial mobile force group forced the rebels to retreat, carting away the three rifles of their victims.

Three hours later in Bongabong town, some 50 guerrillas waylaid four Army soldiers in Barangay Malitbog, 101 kilometers south of Calapan City.

Investigation showed that the soldiers were en route to their headquarters in nearby Bansud town when their service jeep hit a landmine, killing them on the spot.

Slain were 2Lt. Cayetano Curitana, 29, commanding officer of the 19th Special Forces platoon; 2Lt. Diovie Villanueva, 31; T/Sgt. Lenny Vinluan, 33; and Cpl. Rogelio Balaba, 35.

Senior Inspector Ramon Solas, Bongabong police chief, said that after the explosion, the rebels pumped bullets into the soldiers’ heads to make sure they were dead.

The ambush in Barangay Malitbog has forced villagers to flee to the Bongabong town proper. But police gave assurances that everything is now under control and that the rebel-ambushers are being hunted down. — With Edith Regalado and Christina Mendez

ALFREDO ROMERA ARIEL ALFARO BARANGAY BINONDO BARANGAY MALITBOG BARANGAY SAN AGUSTIN BONGABONG CALAPAN CITY CAYETANO CURITANA DAVAO ORIENTAL DIOVIE VILLANUEVA SABLAYAN
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