CATARMAN, NORTHERN SAMAR – Four of the seven troopers of the 20th Infantry Battalion on board a Km250 vehicle of the Philippine Army were wounded when an undetermined number of Communist Terrorist Extortionists (CTEs) staged an ambush within the vicinity of Barangays Somoge and Polangi in Catarman, Northern Samar at shortly past 9:00PM of June 20, 2017.

In a phone interview, Philippine Army 803rd Infantry Brigade Commander, Major General Mario Lacurom told Calbayog Journal that “the undetermined number of armed terrorists blasted an improvised explosive device (IED) to trap our soldiers while they were on board the vehicle traversing the national highway and was en route to patrol the area.”

“The exchange of fire between the government troops and the CTEs lasted for several minutes. Four of our soldiers were wounded in the attack and who are now well taken care of at the 8th Infantry Division Hospital in Catbalogan having been immediately ferried by the forces of the 43rd Infantry Brigade,” Major General Lacurom informed.

It is of knowledge that the armed forces and the police are fully alerted on probable acts of terrorism by the communist rebels in the wake of military operations being conducted in Marawi City for about three weeks now.
“Such acts of terrorism by the communist rebels are anticipated as these people are under orders of their leaders. But we cannot be everywhere. We need the cooperation of the community. We need the people to tell us about sightings of irregularities such as dubious-looking faces and their peculiar acts in the area so we can immediately respond to address the situation or prevent hostilities or any unpleasant scenarios,” the 803rd Brigade Commander said.

The news contain the latest of such intimidations such those that happened almost simultaneously in the provinces of Quezon and Iloilo in the night of June 18, 2017. The communist terrorists detonated by blasting the equipment that runs the operation of a Globe Communication Tower and ambushed a 6 x 6 truck carrying soldiers of the 85th Infantry Battalion in Catanuan, Quezon Province while a municipal police headquarters was attacked in Maasin, Iloilo.

The ambush on the night of June 20, 2017 in Catarman, Northern Samar happened only several meters away from the populated area to which direction the rebels were seen withdrawing from the ambush area.

A day prior the Catarman ambush, a Community Support Program (CSP) Troop led by Cpl. Nandy Armada of the 78th IB based in Barangay Paglaum, Carigara, Leyte was harassed by an undetermined number of CTEs. The incident happened also at night wounding Pfc. Reynaldo Lemos during the exchange of fire for several minutes until the CTEs retreated towards the east direction of the area.

“I call on the vigilance of the people. And we need the people to trust us. Without telling us who they are, they can call and tell us about their fears or the slightest observations of an unusual or irregular act of a person or persons in the community. There is no substitute to a harmonious efforts between the community and the government soldiers in curbing criminalities such as terrorism and extortion acts of the communist rebels that hang around to deprive us of peace and development,” Major General Lacurom emphasized in conclusion.

-, April 7, 2023

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