Friday, March 27, 2015

Army hunting down NPA who kills soldier, harass militia base in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 27): Army hunting down NPA who kills soldier, harass militia base in North Cotabato

The military here has launched manhunt operations against communist rebels hit squad who liquidated an Army corporal in Magpet, North Cotabato Thursday, officials said Friday.

Another Army battalion is also pursuing another band of communist guerrillas in Barangay Villaflores, Makilala after they attacked Thursday afternoon a militia detachment.

Lt. Colonel Jose Rustia, commander of the 57th Infantry Battalion, said manhunt is on-going in the mountains of Barangay Temporan where Corporal Ricardo Paghubasan of Charlie Company and head of 57th IB peace and development outreach program (PDOP) was liquidated Thursday morning.

Rustia said Paghubasan and his companion were on a motorbike heading toward Barangay Barangay Temporan when two men, also riding tandem on separate motorbike, flagged down the soldiers and opened fire.

“He was not in combat uniform, he has only carrying a side arm, he was on a peace and development outreach program implementation when waylaid by the NPAs,” Rustia said, adding that the hit squad also took Paghubasan’s motorbike and cal. 45 pistol.

Rustia identified the suspects as NPA’s under Commander Jazmin of Front 53. He added the NPAs were after Paghubasan’s head because he was the team leader of the Army’s peace and development outreach program helping villagers in NPA infiltrated communities of Magpet.

In nearby Makilala, also in North Cotabato, NPAs harassed a militia detachment in Barangay Villaflores on late Thursday afternoon.

About 20 NPAs tried but failed to overrun a detachment of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit in Barangay Villaflores.

The undermanned militia put up a fight forcing the NPAs to retreat into the hinterlands.

Capt. Danny Boy Tapang, 39th Infantry Battalion, said the harassment which sent jitters to residents nearby, was the NPAs way of sending the message that “it is still a force to reckon with.”

The communist rebels is set to celebrate its foundation anniversary on March 29.

Tapang said every time the NPAs have important days to celebrate, they attack military installations, including soft targets like police offices, village halls and civilian communities who refused to pay revolutionary taxes.

"We are on alert and we seek the public support by reporting the presence of communist guerrillas in their communities," he said.

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