Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rebels strafe feeding program in Northern Samar; no one hurt

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 24): Rebels strafe feeding program in Northern Samar; no one hurt

The Philippine Army's Catbalogan-based 8th Infantry Division condemned on Sunday the New People's Army (NPA) for firing at innocent civilians, mostly students, participating in a feeding program in Northern Samar last Friday.

Reports forwarded by Lt. Col. Erwin Alea, 8th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the incident took place at the Osang Elementary School in Barangay Osang, Catubig town, Northern Samar.

He added that their 34th Infantry Battalion and its attached "Bayanihan" teams along with social workers and community volunteers were conducting a feeding program for 22 students when five rebels fired from their hidden positions 100 meters away from the school.

Government forces immediately retaliated and quickly secured the civilians present.

After a 10-minute firefight, the NPAs, believed sustaining an undetermined number of casualties, retreated.

No one among the civilians and troopers conducting the feeding program was hurt.

Pursuit operations are still ongoing to track down the rebels, Alea said.

Meanwhile, in line with its efforts to further professionalize its personnel, the Catbalogan-based 8th Infantry Division conducted a three-day gender sensitivity training at its multi-purpose hall on Aug. 21 to 23.

The objective of the training was for the participants to enhance their knowledge on respect and equality for both men and women in the uniformed service, 8th Infantry Division spokesperson Lt. Col. Erwin Alea said.

"Furthermore, the training aims to promote advocacy to the participants on equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities that will greatly contribute to the overall success of the Army’s mandated mission as protectors of our country and people," he added.

A total of 159 officers and enlisted personnel participated in the three-day affair.

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