10 soldiers, boy slain in Northern Samar clash 
By Rachel Arnaiz, Felipe V. Celino
Inquirer Visayas
First Posted 18:03:00 12/15/2010

Filed Under: Philippines - Regions, rebellion, Military, insurgency, Armed conflict

CATARMAN, Northern Samar, Philippines—Ten soldiers and a nine-year-old boy were killed while two other soldiers were wounded in an encounter between communist rebels and government troops Tuesday afternoon at Barangay (village) Perez, Las Navas town in Northern Samar.

Captain Dranreb Canto, civil military operations officer of the Philippine Army’s 803rd Brigade, identified the boy as Juven Cabe, who was caught in the crossfire.

Canto said 12 Army soldiers belonging to the 63rd Infantry Battalion based in Catubig town were on patrol in a remote village in Las Navas when they encountered a group of around 40 suspected members of the New People's Army.

The rebels used landmines, he said.

The two soldiers who survived the firefight were taken to the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital.

The bodies of the 10 slain soldiers were recovered only on Wednesday morning and were taken to the 63IB headquarters where an autopsy would be conducted, Canto said.

The rebels took away about eleven assorted high-powered firearms from the slain soldiers.

Last December 8, a soldier was killed while another one was missing in Barangay Taylor, Las Navas town after suspected NPA rebels ambushed a boat bearing soldiers from the 83rd Civil Military Operations Company.

Two civilians, a 15-year-old boy and a former barangay captain were also killed and the boat owner was seriously wounded in that attack.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin was scheduled to visit Northern Samar on Thursday, along with AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo David and Philippine Army commander Major General Arturo Ortiz to check on the insurgency situation in the province.

In Capiz, 40 armed men and women believed to be NPA guerrillas attacked a mountain resort in the municipality of Tapaz at noon Tuesday.

Senior Police Officer 3 Isidro Garbosa of the Tapaz police station said the rebels disarmed the security guards of Marugo Mountain Resort in Barangay San Antonio, some 15 kilometers from the town proper.

Garbosa, who was at the resort during the raid, said the rebels took his service firearm, a .9mm Barreta pistol and two magazines with live ammunition and a cellular phone.

The police said the rebels also took away from the security personnel two other firearms—a .30 caliber M1 grand rifle with ten clips of live ammunition and an M16 armalite rifle with five long and two short magazines with ammunition. They also took six hand-held radios, two pairs of binoculars, a megaphone, a backpack with assorted fatigue uniforms and one magazine loaded with .45 caliber ammunition.

The owner of the resort, Roberto Palomar, who ran for mayor last May’s elections but lost to reelectionist Mayor Rosemarie Gardose, was not around when the armed group entered the resort.