MANILA, Philippines – Four government soldiers were killed while two others were injured in a clash with suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Samar on Sunday evening, a military official said.
Members of the Phiilppine Army's 43rd Infantry Battalion under the 8th Infantry Division were conducting Bayanihan activities in Barangay Ramon, Gandara town when the armed encounter occurred at around 10:30 p.m.
The gunfight lasted around 30 minutes. An undetermined number of NPA rebels were also injured.
The slain soldiers were members of the 'Bayanihan Teams' performing peace and development activities in coordination with the local government of Gandara.
"I personally extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those killed. They were killed while protecting the Filipino people and in pursuit of peace and development in the area," said 8th ID commander Major Gen. Gerardo Layug.
"The heroic deeds of my men will steel our resolve in pursuing peace and development in the area, that their ultimate sacrifice will not be in vain" Layug added.
Meanwhile, 43rd IB commander Lt. Col. Glen Jun Calambuhay said despite the loss, his troops will continue to conduct activities in the area to attain peace and development for the people.