MASBATE CITY – An innocent child who was used as human shield was slightly wounded in a clash between the communist rebels and Army soldiers early morning here today (March 10).
LtCol Jun Pacatan, Commanding Officer of the 9th Infantry Battalion said that the clash occurred at around 7:40am in Sitio Balinsasayaw (sub-village), Bugtong village in Mandaon town.
He said that the a squad of his soldiers led by Staff Sergeant Joel Pavon was on security operations when they spotted some unidentified armed men in a house beside a creek.
Sensing the presence of hapless civilians, Pavon directed his men to hold their fire and surround the rebels to arrest them.
“We were approaching the house, when the first volley of fire rained on us prompting all of my soldiers to seek cover. Some of the rebels were hiding behind the dumbfounded children and we fired selectively, trying to avoid hitting the human shields,” said Pavon.
Outnumbered by the soldiers, the rebels retreated in disarray after about three minutes of firefight. Soldiers found traces of blood along their withdrawal direction.
The soldiers discovered a Cal .45 pistol, a Cal .38 revolver and an improvised bomb left behind by the rebels. Three combat packs containing subversive documents were confiscated by the soldiers.
Domingo Amaro, the owner of the house, informed the soldiers that his 1-year old daughter, Christine, sustained a shrapnel wound in her left underarm. The soldiers promptly applied first-aid to the wounded child and carried her to the nearby hospital in Mandaon town for further treatment.
Dr Estipona of Mandaon Community Care Hospital said that the child is in stable condition. She said that the child got a “very slight wound”.
Accompanied by the soldiers, Amaro filed a complaint before Mandaon PNP for the ‘abuses by the NPA rebels of the Kilusang Sangay sa Platun-North led by a certain Ka Jaypee.
“I have allowed them to take some of our coffee but I am disgruntled by their act of using my three young children, including me and my wife, as human shields during the clash. The rebels should be blamed because they fired the first shot,” said Amaro in a recorded statement.
It can be recalled that a ranking NPA rebel leader named Vangie Herrero a.k.a. Ka Vivian, was collared by the soldiers of 9th Infantry Battalion here two weeks ago.
Major General Ruperto “Raffy” Pabustan, has directed LtColonel Jun Pacatan of the 9th Infantry Battalion to pursue the rebels who are blamed for the massive extortion activities in the province of Masbate.