AT LEAST three police officers died and four others were wounded during a firefight with members of a private armed group in Barangay Mahayag, Sta. Margarita, Samar on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.
Information released by the Police Regional Office-Eastern Visayas (PRO 8) revealed that the fatalities were identified as Staff Sergeant Christian Tallo, Corporal Eliazar Estrelles Jr., and Master Sergeant Paul Terence Paclibar.
The wounded police personnel were known as Corporal Rannel Pedamato, Corporal Mark Jason Sixta, Patrolman Ham Kritnere Capalis, and Patrolman Mark Redoblado.
The police personnel were coming from 1st Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company and Regional Mobile Force Battalion-8.
They were in Barangay Mahayag, which is about 15 kilometers away from the town proper, to serve warrants of arrest to identified individuals believed to be members of a criminal group when the encounter happened around 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Following the incident, the joint police force also arrested four unidentified men and recovered one M-16 rifle, a caliber .45 pistol, and several ammunition.
The wounded police personnel were airlifted by the Tactical Operations Group of the Philippine Air Force from Barangay Mahayag and were brought to a nearby hospital for immediate medical attention.
The slain police officers were brought to St. Peter Funeral in Calbayog City.
Authorities have launched a hot-pursuit operation against the remaining members of the criminal group. (Ronald O. Reyes/SunStar Philippines)