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2 soldiers shot dead by alleged NPA rebels in Bicol —military

Two soldiers who were part of the battalion involved in the search and rescue operations for the missing Cessna plane in Bicol were shot dead on Tuesday by alleged New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

A statement from the Philippine Army's 9th Infantry Division identified the victims as Privates John Paul Adalim and Mark June Esico.

According to the 9th ID, the two were on a supply mission in a supermarket in Barangay Cotmon in Camalig, Albay when shot dead by three suspects about 7 a.m.

Adalim and Esico sustained several gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies, the military said.

"Sinamantala ng Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) ang pagiging abala ng tropa ng 31st Infantry Battalion sa pagtulong sa isinasagawang search and rescue operation sa bumagsak na Cessna Plane sa Albay matapos na tambangan ng mga ito ang dalawang sundalong namimili lamang ng suplay," the 9th ID said.

(The Communist Terrorist Group took advantage of the situation involving the missing Cessna plane in Albay and ambushed two soldiers who were just purchasing supplies.)

The 31st Infantry Battalion has been tapped to assist in the search and rescue operations for the Cessna 340 airplane that went missing in Albay over the weekend.

The plane was carrying four people — the pilot, a crew member and two passengers.

Major General Adonis Bajao, commander of 9th ID and Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB), condemned the attack, saying it showed desperation on the part of the NPA.

"Pagpapakita rin ito ng kanilang kaduwagan at kawalan ng respeto sa karapatang pantao sa pamamagitan ng pagkitil ng buhay kabilang na ang mga sundalong nakatalaga sanang magpaabot ng tulong at magsalba ng buhay ng ating mga kababayan," he said.

(By killing soldiers who were supposed to extend assistance and rescue lives show the communists' cowardice and lack of respect to human rights.) —KBK, GMA Integrated News