BACOLOD CITY: A policeman was killed while 10 others were wounded in an ambush by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the municipality of Maasin, Iloilo on Friday.
The attack came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte officially ended the peace negotiations with the communist group and threatened to arrest leaders of it “legal fronts” branding them as terrorists.
The fatality was identified as Police Officer (PO) 1 Jofer Odon of the Regional Public Safety Battalion–6.
Wounded in the attack were PO1 Vincent Yasay, Nory Talento, Rolanda Lozada, Joy Melvin Polce, Kim Aiver Cornel, Mark Paul Banquillo, Eduard Infante Jr., Joseph Gonzales, April Rey Ansag, Kit Jacon Delihiro, Marlon Yanson Arbuis, Delby Bachiller and PO2 Jose Manuel Bana-ay.
Talento and Cornel are from Bago City while Delihiro is from San Enrique town, all in Negros Occidental. The seven others are from Iloilo province.
The wounded policemen are confined at the Ramon Tabiana Memorial District Hospital in Cabatuan town.
Senior Insp. Felix Alianza, Maasin police chief, said the police officers were on their way back to the town proper from Barangay Dagami at about 6 p.m. to fetch the rest of the troops when their convoy of two vehicles, with 37 police officers on board, drove over a landmine and were sprayed with a volley of gunfire.
Alianza said the police’s hi-lux patrol car was abandoned at the ambush site.
The ambush is the second incident in a week as the communist rebels carried out aggressive attacks against the Philippine National Police in Panay island.
On Tuesday, suspected NPA members also attacked the personnel of Sibalom Municipal Police Station who were on board two police cars in the neighboring province of Antique.
Three police officers were wounded in that ambush.
Authorities have launched a hot pursuit against the rebels.