MANILA, Philippines- A day before the scheduled Christmas truce between the government troops and communist rebels, at least one soldier was killed and three others were wounded in an ambush early Tuesday morning in Northern Samar.

Army Captain Isagani Viernes, 8th Infantry Division public affairs officer, said that six soldiers of 20th Infantry Battalion onboard KM450 vehicle were attacked by undetermined number of communist troops in the village of Bukid, Las Navas, Northern Samar.

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“They were going to Las Navas for humanitarian assistance disaster response operation,” Viernes said.

“The firefight lasted for 15 minutes. One soldier killed, three wounded,” he added.

The slain soldier was identified as Pfc. Daryll Baldo, while wounded were 20IB Charlie team leader Cpl. Romar Clago, Cpl. Michael Porten, and Pfc. Jessie Roxas.

“This act is a clear manifestation of the New People’s Army (NPA) becoming criminal organization resulting to desperate measures to further their atrocities,” the Army based in Samar said in a statement.

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“The NPA should stop doing this harmful and violent undertakings at the expense of putting harm to our troops who are helping the typhoon victims.”

Last December 18, government troops also condemned the ambush staged by NPA to the army personnel from 546 Engineering Battalion with 81st Division Reconnaisance Company who were on humanitarian missions for typhoon Nona victims in Northern Samar.
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President Benigno Aquino III earlier approved the suspension of military operations against the communist rebels in the spirit of Christmas season from December 23, 2015 to January 3, 2016.

Photo: RD Saises