AN ARMY personnel was killed on Wednesday, November 20, after an encounter with suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Las Navas, Northern Samar.
Private Gabriel Pacal, who was with 18 other soldiers from the 20th Infantry Battalion based in Las Navas town, died after a 10-minute firefight against some 20 rebels.
The soldiers led by Second Lieutenant Romel Latuga encountered the NPA members around 6:50 a.m. Wednesday at Barangay San Francisco of the said town.
Casualty from the enemy’s side is still undetermined after they withdrew towards the south and west direction of the area, the Army said.
In November 11, six soldiers also died after an encounter with some 50 rebels in a remote village in Bongan City, Eastern Samar.
The Samar Island has remained a hotbed of insurgency with the continued presence of the communist rebels who are tagged as terrorists by the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
The government earlier declared a “whole-of-nation” approach to solve the country’s decades-long insurgency problem through President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).
In a statement, however, the NPA-Efren Martires Command in Eastern Visayas vowed “to widen and intensify their tactical offensives” against government forces.