Armed group raids guard post in a Bukidnon

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Monday, September 1, 2014

SUSPECTED members of the New People's Army (NPA) swooped down on the security post of a privately-owned subdivision in Bukidnon and took away their firearms shortly before noon on Saturday, authorities said.

The military said around 40 to 60 Maoist insurgents raided a subdivision in Barangay San Miguel, Manolo Fortich town around 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Major Christian Uy, Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) spokesperson, said armed rebels from the Guerrilla Front 4B disarmed security guards manning the outpost of Pineapple Country Homes.


Uy furthered the NPAs carted away four shotguns owned by the guards before fleeing toward Barangay Santo Niño in Manolo Fortich heading to a boundary of Malitbog town.

He added the military and police established road blocks along the major highway in Manolo Fortich while rebels also put up blocking forces on the interior roads leading to the subdivision in the village of San Miguel while the raid on the security outpost was in progress.

Uy added the guerrilla members' purpose was only to steal firearms since there was no other report of damages.

In a report of the Philippine News Agency (PNA), police said residents in the village scampered and padlocked their houses as the raid progressed.

Uy said the Philippine Army's First Special Forces Battalion has been deployed to conduct pursuit operations and prevent the rebels from staging another attack in Manolo Fortich and Libona towns where a good number of multinational companies have been operating.

In 2013, NPA rebels raided and burned equipment owned by Del Monte Philippines Inc. (DMPI).

Last week, they also raided the company’s banana plantation in Tubay town in Agusan del Norte.

Lately, the Maoist rebels staged series of raids in Bukidnon and executions on politicians who allegedly had been actively campaigning against the communists.

‘Prisoners of war’

In a YouTube video uploaded by Ang Kalihukan, the official publication of the NCMRC, on Saturday, two officers of the AFP who were seized by the NPA rebels last August 22 in Impasug-ong town in Bukidnon appeared on video pleading for the Philippine government and officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help their immediate release.

"Akong panawagan sa opisyales sa gobyerno labi na sa AFP nga unta matabangan ‘mi makagawas sa among kahimtang nga naa ‘mi sa kamot sa NPA. Unta masabtan nila among sitwasyon karon nga naa ‘mi sa lasang. Unta tabangan ‘mi nila unsaon pagpadali ug pagawas (We are calling on government officials, especially the AFP officials, to help free us from the hands of the NPA. We hope they understand our situation since we are held captive here in the mountains, and that they will help us for our immediate release)," Private First Class Jerrell Yorong, one of the captive soldiers, said in the video.

Private First Class Marnel Cinches assured his family that they are taken care of by the insurgents.

Yorong and Cinches of the 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) under Bravo company were captured by the NPA and considered by the rebels as their prisoners of war.

Lieutenant Norman Tagros, 8IB's Civil Military Operations chief, told this paper previously that Cinches and Yorong were not in uniform and unarmed when the insurgents in bonnets flagged them down on board a motorcycle.

The captives are assigned under the Community Organizing for Peace Development in Barangay Bontongon, Impasug-ong.

In an emailed statement, Allan Juanito, NPA-North Central Mindanao Region spokesperson, said Cinches and Yorong are being investigated on possibly committing human rights violations against the people in the communities where they had been assigned and if there are other complaints against them too.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 01, 2014.

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