CATBALOGAN CITY -- A communist rebel was killed in a firefight with government troops in Bobon town in Northern Samar last Tuesday, February 14.

The firefight, between personnel of the 43rd Infantry Battalion under the 8th Infantry Division (8ID) led by First Lieutenant Edsel Ryan Celebre and followers of New People's Army (NPA) leader Salvador "Badok" Nordan, lasted for about five minutes.

Killed was Bernadette "Kakan" Lutao, wife of Nordan. Recovered from the clash site at Sitio Cabaywa, Barangay Santander, Bobon, were one improvised explosive device (IED) and three cellular phones.

The military, in a statement, hit the NPA for its use of IED, which has been restricted under the United Nations Geneva Convention because of its indiscriminate effects and the harm it can cause to innocent civilians.

The military said the use of IED is also a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed by the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front.

Major General Raul Farnacio, 8ID commander, said the NPA rebels have been using IEDs as their weapon of choice without consideration of the welfare of the civilian populace.

“The NPA has been deliberately violating the human rights with their production and employment of IEDs and their continuous disruption of the peaceful lives of our fellow Filipinos, especially those in the far-flung barangays,” he said.

He said the encounter Tuesday is "a triumph for the collective effort of the local government unit and agencies, 8ID, and our civilian constituents to attain just and lasting peace in Northern Samar."

"Filipinos want peace and it is high time for our fellow Filipinos who were misled to join the NPA to lay down their arms and lead their lives away from armed struggle," Farnacio added.

The 8ID has been conducting security operations in Eastern Visayas as part of its mandate since the lifting of the ceasefire between the government and NPA early this February.

Farnacio assured that public in Eastern Visayas that despite the lifting of truce, the Army is "committed to serve and secure the people within the bounds of respect of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, and Rule of Law." (SunStar Philippines)