’Fog of war blamed for friendly fire

A House leader blamed yesterday “the fog of war” or the hostilities in some parts of the Philippines for the tragic June 25 friendly fire incident in Sta. Rita, Samar that killed six police officers and wounded nine others.

“Sadly, we still have hostilities in the countryside. And where there’s warfare, there’s always the peril of confusion on the ground,” said Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a member of the House committee on national defense and security.

“Without prejudging the outcome of the inquiry into the incident, we are prepared to accept it as a case of friendly fire due to misidentification,” said Pimentel, who chairs the House committee on good government and public accountability.

“Our hearts go out to the bereaved families of the officers lost, and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” said Pimentel.

To lessen the hazards of friendly fire, Pimentel called for  top-level “interoperability conference” between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We have to enable our soldiers and police officers to effectively and safely operate with each other on the ground, especially in strife-torn provinces where we may have several forces constantly on the move,” said Pimentel.