MANILA - A military spokesman on Tuesday said authorities are investigating whether or not a deadly 'misencounter' between soldiers and policemen in Villarreal, Samar was due to lack of coordination.
A platoon of soldiers was patrolling a remote village in Villarreal town on Monday morning when they mistook a group of police officers as communist New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas, the military had said.
Six policemen were killed in the shooting incident.
"Ang layunin po ay alamin kung ano ang mga nangyari dito, saan po ba nagkulang, lalo na sa aspeto ng koordinasyon," military spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo radio DZMM.
(Our goal is to find out what happened here, where we fell short, especially in the aspect of coordination.)
Arevalo noted that soldiers' first instinct is to fire at armed men they encounter in highly vegetated areas.
Police, he said, also returned fire during Monday's misencounter.
The 9 wounded in the incident were still in the hospital, said Arevalo.
"Gusto nating iparating ang pakikiramay ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas sa mga kaanak at pamilya ng mga nasawi nating kasamahan sa PNP, gayundin sa mga nasugatan," he said.
"Wala pong may gusto ng malungkot na pangyayaring ito."
(We want to extend the condolences of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the families of our slain colleagues from the PNP, and those who were wounded. No one wanted this tragic incident.)
Arevalo said the military will provide the necessary assistance to the family of the slain policemen.
"The Armed Forces of the Philippines, part of its effort in condoling and commiserating with the families and relatives of those who succumbed in the unfortunate incident, we will extend necessary assistance in order to help," he told ANC's "Top Story."
The NPA has been fighting the government for nearly 5 decades. More than 40,000 have been killed in the insurgency and economic growth in resource-rich areas has been stunted. --With a report from Reuters