Nine-year-old Boy Killed in Las Navas

Ten soldiers were slain and a nine-year-old boy was the collateral damage in an ambush by the leftist New People's Army (NPA) in Las Navas, Northern Samar on Tuesday, December 14, 2010. The nine-year-old boy who was identified as Joven Cabe was killed after he was hit by a shrapnel from exploding landmines planted by the NPA while he was taking a bath in a nearby river. The ten soldiers killed were marching back to their barracks to observe the government-declared ceasefire with the NPA rebels when ambushed. Two soldiers were also wounded in the attack. The remains of the 10 soldiers are now at the St. Francis Chapel of the 63rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Dalakit in Catarman.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said the NPA cannot justify the killing of the soldiers and the nine-year-old boy. Valte said the attack was made hours before the ceasefire with communist rebels would have taken effect. Valte said the government strongly objects to the CPP’s claim that the ambush was a legitimate act of war.

“We certainly disagree because I don’t know where, in any part of the world, where you could go and say the death of a nine-year old child was part of a legitimate act of war. They should be the ones to explain to those who have lost their husband this Christmas that it was a legitimate act of war. They should also be the ones to explain to the parents who lost their child this Christmas because they say it was a legitimate act of war.”

In a statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines said the attack was in accordance with the international rules of war.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Sec. Ging Deles, Chief Peace Negotiator Alexander Padilla, Armed Forces chief Gen. Ricardo David and Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz went to Northern Samar today to pay their last respects to the victims of the ambush.