Communist insurgents wearing military uniforms abducted five soldiers in
The New People’s Army (NPA) rebels set up a checkpoint in Sitio Lubas, Barangay Paquibato Proper around 4:30 p.m. Monday and seized the five soldiers as they were passing through on motorcycles, Capt. Raul Villegas, deputy public affairs officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID), said.
Seized were Cpl. Emmanuel Quezon, Pfcs. Ronald Gura, Bernie Padilla, Donato Estandia and Pvt. Marteniano Pasiagas Jr.
One of the troops, apparently the team leader, Lt. Neven Canitan, managed to escape.
“(The) troops were in civilian attire without any firearm because they were going to the market to procure food supplies and coordinate with an NGO (non-government organization) for the scheduled feeding program in the community,” Villegas said.
“It is very unfortunate that the NPA bandits took advantage of the situation to achieve their barbarity,” he added.
The NPA rebels performed a barricade in the area and acted like they were military personnel to deceive commuters, Villegas said.
He added Canitan escaped after jumping off from the motorcycle and throwing himself in a ravine after sensing unusual demeanor along their route.
“Following his instinct, he immediately jumped from the motorcycle and threw himself in a ravine to escape,” Villegas said of Canitan.
Police reports tagged the group of NPA commander Leoncio Pitao, alias Parago, as behind the abduction.
Military troops were deployed to conduct hot pursuit operation.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. condemned the latest NPA act.
“We strongly condemn this act of abducting soldiers who are not in combat mission. The troops were in civilian attire and without firearms when they went to the market for a peace and development mission with an NGO that would benefit the community,” he said.
The communist has been waging a 44-year-old armed campaign that has claimed at least 30,000 lives. The military estimates the NPA has about 4,000 fighters.
The government had been hoping to sign a pact to end the rebellion before President Aquino ended his six-year term in 2016. But the government said in April that peace talks had collapsed.
Three soldiers were killed last June 4 in another part of
Eight members of the elite Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) died last month when communist rebels ambushed them in Cagayan province.
Meanwhile in Agusan del Sur, five civilians were killed while millions worth of heavy equipment were burned down after NPA rebels attacked a private corporation in the province.
Maj. Leo Bongosia, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (ID), said undetermined number of NPA rebels swooped down at the compound of Sienna Lyn Corporation in Barangay Remedios, Esperanza town around 9:30 a.m.
“Accordingly, they (NPAs) burned down five heavy equipment to include tractors and then the NPAs left five dead in the area,” he added.
Bongosia said the fatalities were believed to be workers of the private company involved in the agro-industrial business.
The Army official, quoting initial information, said some of the victims were elderly.
The identities of the fatalities were not immediately available.
Bongosia said that fatalities were gunned down.
He said the attacking NPA rebels were aboard two trucks.
The military expressed belief that the attack was motivated by the communist group’s extortion activities.
“We are seeing extortion here…they (NPA rebels) were not heeded,” Bongosia said.