The military and police authorities here hit the New People's Army (NPA) for staging an ambush against the military escorts which helped secure the medical and dental civic action program (MEDCAP) in Brgy. Nongnong, this city during the weekend.
SPO1 Philip Amer P. Mazo, information officer of Police Regional Office (PRO) 13, in an interview Monday said that he could not understand why the rebels can harass the Bayanihan team when all it did was to bring the much needed medical, dental and other services to the remote village of the city.
Mazo said that the medical and dental outreach offered free medical check-up with free medicines, free dental check-up, free haircut, mass feeding, distribution of food supplies and hold dialogue with the villagers.
The MEDCAP initiated by the regional police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) medical and dental team with the support of the local government unit of Butuan headed by Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr., Mazo said served a total of 1,703 villagers benefited from the mission of which 437 in the medical check-up; dental check-up, 66; free haircut, 100; food supplies, 400 packs; packed lunch, 400 and mass feeding to 300 children.
Mayor Amante, Caraga PNP chief CSupt. Getulio Napenas, and
According to Mazo, that most of the convoy had already left the area, including the top officials, when the ambush happened. The rebels fired upon the joint AFP-PNP team who were the last to leave the area late in the afternoon led by PCInsp. Ave Mario Romero, commander of Butuan City Police Station 5 and 1Lt. Angelo Gomez of the 29th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. The group secured the remaining medical personnel and some civilians who were still at the area. They were ambushed by undetermined number of armed men believed to be members of the CPP-NPA Front Committee 4A, upon reaching Purok 3, Brgy. Bitan-agan, this city.
The exchange of fire lasted for five minutes after which the rebels withdrew towards the mountains who were pursued by some of the government troopers. No casualties on both sides were however reported during the incident, and the soldiers safely secured all the civilians who were with them, Mazo said.