7 soldiers wounded in Northern Samar blast: PH Army

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2022 12:58 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2022 03:41 PM

 Government soldiers were wounded in a blast in Mapanas, Northern Samar on July 5, 2022, the Philippine Army said. Photo courtesy of Maj. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander, Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division
Government soldiers were wounded in a blast in Mapanas, Northern Samar on July 5, 2022, the Philippine Army said. Photo courtesy of Maj. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander, Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — Seven soldiers were wounded Tuesday morning in a blast in Mapanas town, Northern Samar, the Philippine Army said.

Two of the soldiers are in critical condition, according to the Army's 8th Infantry Division.

The state troops were doing community service in Barangay Magsaysay when the blast took place, said Maj. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the 8th ID.

"Actually, nagki-clearing operation ‘yung tropa natin dun kasi may reports nga na may anti-personnel mines na nilalatag doon. So nagresponde ang tropa natin," he added.

(Our troops were conducting clearing operations because there were reports of anti-personnel mines there, so our troops responded.) 

De Leon blamed rebels from the New People’s Army for the attack, which took place around 6 a.m.

He also condemned them for allegedly using anti-personnel mines. This is a violation of the Ottawa Convention or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, of which the Philippines is a signatory, he added.

Authorities are conducting pursuit operations to arrest the perpetrators. 

De Leon said they would file charges against the leadership of the National Democratic Front for alleged violation of the International Humanitarian Law.

"This one, may responsibilidad ang NDF leadership na ipatigil sa NPA ang paggamit ng anti-personnel mine," he said. "Hanggang ngayon, hindi nila pinipigilan ang NPA sa manufacture, transport, stockpile and use of anti-personnel mines."

(The NDF leadership has a responsibility to stop the NPA from using anti-personnel mine. Until now, they do not prohibit the NPA's use of anti-personnel mines.) 

The army's 20th Infantry Battalion said Barangay Magsaysay was supposed to be a beneficiary of a P63-million PAMANA infrastructure program in 2018, but NPA presence discouraged contractors from implementing the projects. 

Lt. Col. Joemar Buban, commanding officer of the battalion, called on the Commission of Human Rights to investigate the "continuous inexcusable violations" of the Ottawa Convention and other laws. 

No civilian was hurt in Tuesday's attack. The NDF has yet to comment on the military's allegation.

 - with reports from Sharon Evite and Leila Vicente-Albani, ABS-CBN News

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