1 soldier killed, 1 captured by NPA in Misamis Oriental
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A government soldier was killed while another was captured as “prisoner of war” by the New People’s Army in a firefight in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental on Saturday.
Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the military’s 4th Infantry Division, said government forces engaged about 30 members of the NPA in Barangay Alagatan at around 5:30 in the afternoon.
Martinez explained the soldiers were in the community because they responded to the request of the village council for security assistance.
Martinez said when the soldiers arrived in the area on Saturday, they were “surprised about the presence of the NPA rebels inside the community.”
A fierce firefight that lasted for about 20 minutes, killing a government soldier, Martinez said.
Two soldiers were also wounded and one, who was hit in the leg, was taken away by the fleeing rebels.
Martinez said that two civilians were also wounded after being caught in the crossfire.
In a statement emailed to the Inquirer, Ka Allan Juanito, spokesperson of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Command, said that the attack was a punitive action against the alleged “psywar and intelligence operations” of the military in the community.
“The reactionary soldiers were playing basketball in the village center when they were raided by the NPA,” Juanito said.
The NPA identified the captured soldier as 26-year-old Pfc. Adonis Jess Maghanoy Lupeba (serial number: 863573), who is a resident of Cagayan de Oro City.
“The NPA custodial unit ensures the humanitarian treatment of Pfc. Lupeba as a POW and in accordance to the rules of engagement, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), and the three rule and eight points of discipline of the NPA regarding the humanitarian treatment of prisoners of war,” Juanito said.
“We assure the family of Lupeba and the general public that he is being treated well and will be able to return as soon as conditions allow his safe and orderly release,” the communist leader added.
The NPA, however, expressed regret that two civilians were hurt in the incident adding that financial aid will be extended.
“We regret the involvement of two civilians who were wounded in the firefight—Helen Mae Helodo, 14 years old, and Leticia Cabrera. NPA medics gave Cabrera first aid before she was brought to the hospital.
The two are now reportedly out of danger. As soon as possible, we will extend financial aid for their medication,” Juanito said.
The NPA asserted that seven soldiers were hurt in the raid and that they were able to cart away a K3 light machine gun, an M203 grenade launcher and an assortment of ammunitions.
Additional government forces were immediately deployed to go after the fleeing communist guerrillas.
Misamis Oriental is known as one of the strongholds of the underground communist movement most especially during Martial Law.
Both the government and the National Democratic Front are presently exploring ways to jumpstart the stalled peace negotiations. TVJ
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