A soldier died while at least 659 individuals or 192 families from an Aeta community in San Marcelino, Zambales were displaced following a clash between government troops and New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists.
Authorities said the clash began at 5 a.m., August 21 and ended at 1:30 p.m., August 22.
Reports reaching the office of Mayor Elvis Soria said the gunbattle between the Army troops and alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) broke out in Sitio Lumibao in Barangay Buhawen, a few kilometers from where the Aeta families reside in this town.
The slain soldier was identified as Sergeant Rudi Dilao of the Army’s 73rd Division Reconnaissance Company, 7th Infantry Division (7ID).
The 7ID hailed the heroism of Dilao who, it said, died protecting the people of Zambales against the terroristic activities of the NPA.
“He showed his immeasurable love of country as he offered his life to keep the communities of Zambales safe from the infiltration of the enemy. His ultimate sacrifice will remain forever in our hearts as we continue our fight in winning the peace in the countryside. We are urging the public to join us in offering a prayer for the eternal peace of the soul of our brother in profession,” the 7ID said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Soria said the displaced indigenous peoples (IPs) were temporarily evacuated at a covered court in Barangay Aglao where they were given food and medical services. (PNA)