Rebels attack police car in Eastern Samar

TACLOBAN CITY — A group of New People’s Army (NPA) attacked a police car early Thursday morning in Giporlos, Eastern Samar, leading to a 20-minute clash between the police and communist rebels.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Eastern Visayas Regional Director Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar said no one was hurt on the side of the government while the NPA suffered undetermined number of casualties.

The firefight erupted after rebels ambushed a police car of Giporlos, Eastern Samar in Biga village, Giporlos town around 5:55 a.m. on Thursday.

On board the Mahindra patrol car were senior police officer Teodoro Tan and three junior police officers.

Policemen were heading to Borongan City, the provincial capital to attend a meeting at the police provincial office with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Thursday morning. The city is about 100 kilometers from Giporlos town.

“The police vehicle passed through the kill zone without being hit by rebels after an improvised explosive device exploded along the driver’s side,” Beltejar said in a mobile phone interview.

The police got off from the patrol car after passing the kill zone. The team crawled to higher grounds, retaliated, and sought reinforcement from their police station, according to Beltejar.

Team from the Eastern Samar police provincial office, regional public safety maneuver company, regional public safety battalion proceeded to the ambush area to conduct pursuit operation and investigation.

The Philippine Army is on alert after the attack and established more checkpoints in Eastern Samar.

Giporlos, which is 91 kilometers from this city, is one of the four towns in Eastern Samar not yet declared as manageable conflict-affected and development-ready by the provincial government and military.

Other towns with threats of communist rebels are Jipapad, Maslog, and Mac Arthur. Jazmin Bonifacio & Raven Luna/PNA