Gov’t upholds ‘no negotiation policy’ as kin call for abducted soldiers’ release

Marje Pelayo   •   January 29, 2019   •   1182

Members of the New People’s Army | Photo courtesy of Kodao Phils.

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has intensified its pursuit operations against members of New People’s Army (NPA) in Agusan del Sur who abducted government troopers on December 19, 2018.

Two active soldiers and 13 members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were kidnapped by the communist rebels in the town of Remedios Y Romualdez in the municipality of Sibagat last year.

Relatives of the victims continue to call on the government to facilitate the immediate rescue of their loved ones.

Magdalena Lamion, the daughter of one of the captives, Bienvenido Lamion, is worried about her father’s health and so she asks for their immediate release.

“Marami nang balita na sinasabing pinatay na raw. Nananawagan kami na tumugon sana ang gobyerno na pahintulutan sila na pakawalan na talaga sila,” the distressed daughter appealed.

“Tulungan ninyo na maka uwi ang aking anak,” Elena Cariño, the mother of one of the two soldiers,  called on President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement issued by Major General Ronald Villanueva, the Philippine Army 4ID Commander maintained that the military will uphold its ‘no negotiation policy’ with the NPA.

Nevertheless, the authorities are doing everything for the safe release of the captives. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Raymond Octobre)

Young NPA fighter thankful for being saved by the ‘enemy’

Marje Pelayo   •   November 6, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Rebel combatant alias ‘Kent’ was lost for words over his experience in the hands of his “enemies” – the soldiers of the 29th Infantry Battalion – after an encounter in San Isidro, Santiago, Agusan del Norte.

‘Kent’ sustained three gunshot wounds during the crossfire on November 2.

The soldiers captured him as he could no longer walk due to his injury.

He thought that was the end for him.

“Naka-set na sa isip ko na papatayin ako talaga kasi susuko (I set my mind that I would be killed if I surrender),” he said in his local dialect.

“Ang sabi nila kapag may giyera, papatayin ka kapag nahuli ka ng Army (They say in war, you will be killed if the Army captures you),” he added.

But to his surprise, the soldiers brought him to a nearby hospital and while gasping for air, he heard the soldiers telling him to hold on and try to survive.

The young NPA fighter is now recovering from his wound while the military is working on the possible assistance he may receive once he officially decommissions from the rebel group.

“Ang una nating ginagawa ngayon ay maka recover muna siya (What we are focusing on first is his recovery),” said Maj. Francisco Garelllo, the spokesperson of the 402 Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army who handles the case of alias Kent.

‘Kent’ was recruited to the New People’s Army (NPA) when he was only 16 years old.

He realized he spent his two years fighting for the wrong side.

He said he has decided to return to the government and start a new life with his family.

 “Sinasabi naman nila sa akin na, ‘Dapat mabuhay ka kasi sisikapin naming mabuhay ka,’” Kent said of the soldiers who rescued him.

“Kaya pinilit ko ring maka-survive,” he concluded. – MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

Councilor wounded, 2 others killed in Agusan del Sur ambush

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 8, 2019

Scene of the Crime Operatives examine the site of the ambush against San Luis Councilor Franklin Mandumotan on April 6, 2019

San Luis, Agusan del Sur Councilor Franklin Mandumotan was wounded while his wife, child and friends were killed in an ambush in Barangay San Pedro, Agusan del Sur on Saturday (April 6).

Philippine National Police (PNP) San Luis Chief Pcapt. Emerson Bajao said Mandumotan, his family and two of his friends were aboard an SUV and were on their way to a municipal activity when armed men rained bullets on said vehicle.

“Nagawa pa niyang mga around 150 meters pagpapatakbo para maiwas iyong mga nasa loob. More or less 36 basyo ng bala ng M16 ang nakuha sa area at mayroon pang bala ng mga carbine na na-iwan din sa area, (He was able to run the vehicle up to 150 meters to save the people inside. More or less 36 bullet shells of M16 were recovered from the area, there were also carbine ammunition left in the area),” Bajao said.

Mandumotan’s wife was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital while one of his friends, Maricel Quezon, died on the spot after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds.

Mandumotan sustained a gunshot wound on the arm. His son, Charles, and his other friend, Norie Coguit also sustained wounds and were taken to the hospital.

Bajao has confirmed they are investigating four persons of interest who may be responsible for the ambush.

Authorities are also investigating the motive for the assassination because the councilor has no record of any involvement in illegal drugs.

Bajao also insists it is not election-related.

“Hindi man siya tumatakbo, hindi election-related tapos wala ring mga armed group dito. Iyon nga tinitibay pa natin kung matumbok ba natin kung sila ba ang gumagawa, iyong mga NPA kasi hindi nila inaamin, (He is not running [in the election], it is not election-related. Also, there are no armed groups here. We are still investigating if the NPA is responsible because they are not claiming responsibility as of now)” Bajao said.

Meanwhile, Police Regional Office 13 Director Brig. Gen. Gilberto DC Cruz gave his troops one week to apprehend those responsible for the ambush.—Aileen Cerrudo(with reports from Raymond Octobre)

Authorities warn of disqualification, imprisonment for candidates funding NPA

admin   •   January 23, 2019

BGen. Franco Nemesio Gacal

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in CARAGA region warn election hopefuls against giving in to extortion ploys of the New People’s Army (NPA) terror group.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently issued a memorandum which discouraged all candidates in the 2019 midterm polls from giving any amount to the rebels.

According to BGen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the 402IB, PA, any monetary dues given to the terrorist rebels in exchange for alleged permit to campaign or permit to win is a clear violation of R.A. 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.

If proven guilty, the candidate will face life term in jail and a penalty of P500,000 to P1-million.

“Although mayroon silang mga propagandang sinasabi na may mga pulitiko na gustong pumunta, lumang tugtugin na iyan, “ General Gacal said.

“Ito ang mga tipong alam mo na nga na pwede kang madisgrasya. Ikaw ba naman na isang pulitiko ay aattend ka pa doon? Sinabi (na) ng presidente na ang NPA ay isang terrorist group,” he added.

The DILG has issued a stern warning to all provincial, city and municipal peace and order councils to report and accost local executives dealing with the rebel group.

Authorities warned that any candidate proven guilty of dealing with the NPA rebels will also face disqualification based on Omnibus Election Code. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Raymond Octubre)

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