Soldier killed in Samar shootout
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 8, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A soldier on his way to visit relatives, was killed by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in a shootout in Northern Samar last Sunday.

Lt. Col. Erwin Alea, spokesman for the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said Sgt. Leo Loberiano was driving his motorcycle when the rebels waylaid him in the outskirts of Barangay Napo in Palapag town.

“The soldier, realizing that the armed men were NPA rebels, fought it out and broke through their checkpoint,” Alea said in a statement.

He said the rebels took Loberiano’s pistol and bag. 

Members of the 34th Infantry Battalion have launched pursuit operations against the rebels.

 The incident was the fifth atrocity blamed on rebels while the military is observing a suspension of offensive operations for the Christmas holidays and the visit of Pope Francis. The SOMO, which started on Dec.18, will end on Jan. 19.

Communist rebels also declared a ceasefire that took effect on Dec. 24 to 26 and Dec. 31 to Jan. 1. The NPA will suspend offensives again from Jan. 15 to 19 during the papal visit.    

Military officials said the insurgents burned construction equipment in Camarines Norte and a civilian vehicle in Agusan del Sur on Dec. 22.

NPA guerrillas were also tagged in the kidnapping of Davao del Norte jail warden Marvin Coquilla on Dec. 23 and the ambush that killed a soldier and wounded three others in Mabini, Compostela Valley.

“While we remain sincere in our words and actions to abide by the provisions of the SOMO, the NPA rebels remain treacherous in their actions, taking advantage of every opportunity to inflict casualties not only on the members of the Armed Forces but even on innocent civilians,” said Maj. Gen. Jet Velarmino, chief of the Army’s 8th ID.

ARMED FORCES BARANGAY NAPO CAMARINES NORTE COMPOSTELA VALLEY ERWIN ALEA INFANTRY BATTALION INFANTRY DIVISION JAN JET VELARMINO LEO LOBERIANO
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