A SOLDIER of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was killed while two others were hurt in an encounter between the AFP and New People’s Army (NPA) in Tapaz, Capiz, Tuesday, February 7.

Corporal Ricky Bill Fariñas was killed while Sergeant William Viado and Private First Class Donald Lisbo were hurt when an improvised explosive device blasted during the combat operation initiated by 61st Infantry Battalion (IB) to NPA’s campsite in Tacayan village, Tapaz, Capiz around 6:15 a.m.

“When the ceasefire was lifted, we initiated offensive operations against the NPA. While we were heading towards the objective of the operation, we did not know that there was an improvised explosive device and when it was activated, our (soldiers) were hurt,” 61st IB Commander Leonardo Peña told the Philippine News Agency-Iloilo.

Fariñas died on the spot while Viado and Lisbo were rushed to Dr. Ricardo S. Provido Sr. Memorial District Hospital in the town of Calinog, Iloilo for treatment.

Peña said they were already expecting an encounter with the NPA since the area is “very influential.”

“Actually, we received series of reports about the (campsite) of NPA in that area during the time of ceasefire, but we cannot initiate offensive operations since it was prohibited and we respected the unilateral ceasefire,” said Peña.

President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the government’s unilateral truce with NPA on February 3, two days when the NPA announced that it will end its ceasefire on February 10.

The president said he tried to extend peace with the communist rebels but many soldiers were still killed.

Peña said the killing of one soldier will not stop them from initiating future combat operations against the NPA.

“We will continue the operation.” said Peña. (PNA)