3 Philippine Army soldiers killed in Legazpi ambush

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


Three soldiers were killed by alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in a morning ambush in Barangay Banguerohan, Legazpi City on Sunday, Jan. 17.


Capt. John Paul Belleza, Philippine Army 9th Infantry Division spokesman, said that the fatalities belonged to the 31st Infantry Battalion.


He said that soldiers were coordinating with the police for the entry of the heavy equipment of Sunwest Corporation for a road opening project in Barangay Villahermosa in Daraga town to Barangay Bariis, Legazpi City, when they were ambushed by the NPA members.


The soldiers were in civilian clothes and riding a motorcycle when they were ambushed in Barangay Banquerohan, in Legazpi City at around 8:30 AM on Sunday.


Major Maria Luisa “Malu” Calubaquib, Philippine National Police (PNP) Bicol spokesperson, identified the fatalities as Army Cpl. Joemar Maravilla, PFCs Ronald Luna Zamora and Reymart Palencia, while Sgt. Ferdinand Fernandez survived the ambush but sustained gunshot wounds.


Calubaquib said the soldiers were just coming from combat clearing operations when they were waylaid as they were heading back to camp.


Lt. Col. Rodelon A. Betita, Legazpi City police chief, said that Maravilla, Zamora and Palencia have just coordinated a combat clearing operation with the Legazpi City Police Station when ambushed by the communist rebels.


“The soldiers were heading back to their camp aboard their motorcycles, the Army soldiers were attacked with high-powered firearms by still unidentified gunmen while passing through the national road,” Betita said.