Wednesday, May 5, 2010

PCOS Machine Security Personnel Bombed by NPA Rebels Anew

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, CamSur – Government soldiers who were sent to escort the vehicles that will carry PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines from Masbate City were ambushed by suspected NPA rebels who blasted landmines as they passed by the provincial highway in Sitio Busay, Bgy Pawikan, Palanas, Masbate at around 10:30am today.

Major Harold M Cabunoc, Division Spokesperson said that the convoy, composed of a KM 450 medium truck and a Simba Armored Personnel Carrier, carried twelve soldiers.

Cabunoc said that the soldiers were tasked to secure the PCOS machines which were supposed to be transported to the various polling precincts in Masbate Province.

Major Esteveyn Ducusin and Major Michael Licyayo, staff officers of the 85th Infantry Battalion, were among those who figured in the said ambush.

“It looks like a normal day for all of us. Suddenly, we were jolted by the thunderous blast caused by the landmines which were planted along the road,” Ducusin said.

The soldiers were able to return fire as they raced outside the ambush site. No one was hurt among the soldiers but the KM 450’s windshield was slightly damaged.

Colonel Alvin Tiamwatt, Commander of AFP Special Task Force Masbate said that it is the fifth ambush on government forces this year. Two of the attacks targeted the newly deployed 85th Infantry Battalion, the former UN peacekeepers.

Col Lope Dagoy, a veteran ambush survivor himself, still managed to smile despite of the second attempt to harm his soldiers. He was among the government troops who survived the ambush set by the terrorist rebels on May 3, 2010.

“We will not be cowed by these persistent threats of the CPP-NPA-NDF. My subordinates have remained committed to perform its tasks in order to help our ‘kababayans’,’ said Dagoy.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has placed his troops on heightened alert as a result of the successive attacks on government forces.

“I have directed both the 9th Infantry Battalion and the 85th Infantry Battalion to conduct joint pursuit operations with the PNP personnel in order to hunt the rebels,” Pabustan said.

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