NPA belies deaths of comrades in Quezon clash
LUCENA CITY, Quezon – A spokesman of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Quezon released a public statement on Friday denying military reports of ten of their combatants killed in the encounter in General Nakar town in Quezon province on Thursday.
“The NPA forces suffered zero casualties,” Armando “Ka Mando” Jacinto, spokesperson of the NPA Rosario Lodronio Rosal Command operating in Siera Madre in Southern Tagalog, said in a statement titled “The truth about the encounter in General Nakar, Quezon” that was posted on the website of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Jacinto also refuted the military report that the government only lost two Army soldiers with three others in the battle.
“The NPA forces valiantly fought and (outmaneuvered) the attacking soldiers for an hour-long battle inflicting casualties on them resulting (in) five killed and one seriously wounded,” he said.
Jacinto said rebel forces also recovered one baby Armalite rifle, eight magazines loaded with bullets and backpacks with military documents.
But for Lt. Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, commander of the Army’s 80th Infantry Battalion, Jacinto’s denial is part of the rebel’s policy and practice.
“They will never announce their dead unless bodies (of slain rebels) were recovered,” he said in a phone interview Saturday. “They are doing that to cover, divert attention and ensure withdrawal of their casualties,” he said.
Major Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division (ID) operating in Southern Tagalog and Mimaropa regions, also denied the NPA allegation.
“We are bound by the laws of the land to disclose only facts and confirmed information,” he said. “And because we do not hide anything from our people, they are also the source of our information which confirmed that 10 also died from the New People’s Army”.
Parayno also called on the families of wounded rebels “to bring them to us so that immediate medication and proper treatment could be administered to save their lives.”