NORTHERN SAMAR, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Two soldiers were hurt when a government truck with relief goods for typhoon victims in Northern Samar was ambushed by suspected communist rebels Friday morning, December 18, a military official said.
Soldiers from the engineering batallion in Tacloban escorted the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) truck on the way to Northern Samar, when the vehicle was ambushed in the vicinity of Madalunot and Pahug in Pinabacdao, Samar, at around 9 am on Friday.
Colonel Rodrigo Ilustrisimo of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City said that two soldiers were wounded in the attack of suspected members of the New People's Army.
Local leaders appealed to all groups not to hamper the delivery of relief goods to communities that had been devastated by Typhoon Nona (Melor), especially in Northern Samar which suffered casualties, and where thousands of people have been affected.
"The people of Northern Samar are in dire need of help at this time," said Ruth Figueroa, village chief of Zone 3 of the University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman.
Catarman Vice Mayor Christian Uy also appealed to the national government to hasten the delivery of food, clothing, tarpaulin, and construction materials for families left homeless by Typhoon Nona.
Data from the PDRRMC showed that 114,200 families in 24 towns in Northern Samar were affected by the typhoon.
The NDRRMC and the Armed Forces of the Philippines condemned the attack.
The ambush took place 5 days before the start of a unilateral ceasefire declaration by communist rebels. The National Democratic Front had earlier ordered the suspension of all offensive operations against the Armed Forces of the Philippines from the first minute of December 23, until midnight of January 3, 2016. – Rappler.com