ILOILO CITY -- A composite team of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) is now running after communist terrorists who ambushed members of the PNP-Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) in Sitio Camansi, Barangay Bolo, Maasin town, Iloilo around 6 p.m. Friday.
The ambush resulted in the death of Police Officer 1 (PO1) Joefill Tallador Odon and the wounding of 10 other policemen identified as Police Inspector Joy Melvin Dulce, PO1s Delby Bachiller, Rolando Lozada, Vincent Yasay, April Ray Ansag, Rolly Talento, Kim Iber Cornel, Kenneth Delejero, Paul John Banquillo, and PO3 Jose Manuel Bana-ay.
The casualties, together with 11 other police officers, were travelling aboard two vehicles on their way back to the town proper of Maasin, when an explosive device went off followed by bursts of gunfire while they were in Sitio Camansi.
Found at the scene were Molotov bombs and the improvised explosive devices used in the ambush.
Police Regional Office-Western Visayas spokesperson Gilbert Gorero said that what happened was a terroristic act of the New People's Army (NPA) as he called on the public not to support the communist group.
The ambush happened a day after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360 terminating talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Meanwhile, the NPA Jose Percival Estocada Jr Command (JPEC)-Central Panay, in its website, claimed responsibility for the killing.
The NPAs Napoleon Tumagtang Command on November 23 also claimed responsibility for the ambush in Sibalom, Antique province, where three members of the Sibalom Municipal Police Station were wounded.
The RMFB was deployed to the area following sightings of alleged communist terrorists in the mountainous portion of Maasin.
Government operations are focused in Maasin and adjacent areas following series of encounters between the Philippine Army and the NPA. On November 20, the troops clashed with around 30 members of the NPA terrorists at the boundary of Barangay Canawilihan, Janiuay and Barangay Trangka, Maasin.
NPA rebels also attacked the Maasin Municipal Police Station and carted away assorted firearms last June. (PNA)