From InterAksyon (Jul 18): NPA lauds captured soldier for 'professionalism'
A soldier sits on the steps of the bullet-riddled CVO outpost in Barangay Alagatan, Gingoog City where PFC Adonis Jess Lupiba was positioned when NPA guerrillas attacked troops stationed in the village. (photo by Erwin Mascarinas, InterAksyon.com)
Communist rebels in Mindanao praised the “professionalism” of a soldier they captured when they attacked troops stationed in a Gingoog City village last weekend when he refused to open fire to avoid endangering civilians.
The statement of Ka Allan Juanito, spokesman of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Command, echoed those of residents of Barangay Alagatan, who called Private First Class Adonis Jess Lupiba of the 58th Infantry Battalion a "hero" for holding his fire on rebels who had taken cover under a house where several civilians were playing cards and watching a basketball game.
In an earlier account of the incident, “Greg,” an Alagatan resident who asked his real name not be disclosed, said: “For us he is a hero, he exchanged his life for our safety. He could have killed several NPAs from his vantage point above the CVO (civilian volunteer outpost), but he did not fire back or even throw a grenade towards the house.”
Another resident, Gem, recalled Lupiba shouting to the rebels: “Please there are civilians, the civilians are in the house!”
“If the soldier had fired back, my God, we all would have been dead, thankfully he did not fire at our location and even surrendered in exchange. It was a very frightening experience. I just laid it all to God if he would take us that day then I asked for forgiveness in my prayer and for my children, I held on to my faith in God,” she said.
Juanito lauded Lupiba’s adherence to rules of engagement that state, “involvement of civilians and their property must be avoided” and “damages must be limited only to the extent necessitated by the mission.”
However, he added, military officials “clearly do not understand these rules of engagement for they ordered their men to occupy barrio centers, barangay halls, gymnasiums and other public facilities in conducting the psywar component of the triad operations of Oplan Bayanihan,” the government’s counterinsurgency program.
At the same time, Juanito blasted military claims that Lupiba had been wounded before his capture and had subsequently been mistreated by the rebels, “an accusation that has caused unnecessary worry on the part of his family and friends.”
He said a video uploaded by the rebels to YouTube “clearly shows that the prisoner of war under NPA custody is in good health.”
In the video, which InterAksyon.com has viewed, a visibly uninjured Lupiba says he has been treated well and asks his family to pray for his speedy release from captivity.