MANILA (UPDATED) – Three soldiers were killed in an ambush by suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur on Thursday morning, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.
The fatalities were identified as Private First Class Joey Albert Alejandro of Santiago City, Isabela; Corporal Edward Ryan Pinguel of San Julian, Eastern Samar and Private First Class Ralph Henry Baluyot of Gamu, Isabela.
Maj. Emmanuel Garcia, civil military operations officer of the AFP's Northern Luzon Command, said soldiers from the 50th Infantry Battalion, on board military vehicles, were on their way to a store when they were ambushed by the rebels in Sitio Daing, Barangay Remedios at around 9 a.m.
Garcia said the soldiers were supposed to buy medicines and water for their May 6-7 medical mission in the villages of Alangtin and Tubtuba in Tubo, Abra.
“Lahat sila ang tama nila sa ulo isang bala lang... ang possibility kasi niyan nasa elevated position yung suspects kaya lahat, ganun ang position,” Dr. Nerino Daciego, medico legal officer of SOCO Region 1, said.
Meanwhile, 15 soldiers were wounded in the attack, Garcia said.
Authorities identified the suspects as alleged members of the KLG Montes Jennifer Carno Command led by Ka Veran.
Meanwhile, three other soldiers were killed in a firefight with members of the NPA in Maitum, Sarangani on Thursday morning, according to 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Ernest Carolina.
A clash with the rebel group in Barangay Fatima, Paquibato District, Davao also left four soldiers from the 69th Infantry Battalion wounded. -- Report from Edwin Sevidal, dzMM and Randy Menor, ABS-CBN News Laoag