Eight policemen were killed while seven others were injured in an ambush by New People’s Army (NPA) members in Allacapan, Cagayan, early Monday, police said.

Killed were PO3 Vladimir Tabarejo, PO2 Dexter Cubilla, PO2 Angelbert Mateo, PO2 Elmark Rodney Pinated, PO2 Jonnel Bowat, PO2 Ronald Castulo, PO1 Eric Brioso, and PO1 Jerome Sanchez, all members of the Special Action Force’s (SAF) 24th Company, Senior Insp. Cesar Orlanes, Cagayan provincial police spokesman, said in a phone interview.

PO2 Ronald Gomez, PO2 Jeopano Adang, PO2 Ricky Monay, PO2 Jeofrey Amilagan, PO2 Jeofrey Elasco, and PO1 Ephraim Dolete, also members of the SAF’s 24th Company, were still being treated at the hospital as of this writing.

The policemen were passing through the boundary of Brgys. Cataratan and Centro West around 8:30 a.m., when a landmine explosion hit their troop carrier, Orlanes said.

After the blast, about 30 fully-armed rebels fired upon the police team, which was heading towards the town proper to undergo electrocardiogram (ECG) tests, a requirement for an upcoming physical fitness test, he said.

“Some of them (policemen) were even in their athletic uniforms because they were supposed to undergo ECG,” he said.

Despite being injured, some of the policemen engaged the rebels in a firefight, but it was still unknown if the rebels also suffered casualties, Orlanes said.

“Firearms were also reportedly taken from them (policemen), but we have yet to receive information what types these are,” he said.

After the incident, additional policemen arrived at the area to reinforce the ambushed troops and brought the wounded to the Ballesteros District Hospital.

Castulo was among those who were brought to the hospital, but he expired while undergoing treatment, Orlanes said.

Other policemen were still pursuing the rebels as of this writing. (John Roson)

– end –