Thursday, April 21, 2016

Army, PNP hunt down NPAs who snatched Army trooper in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21): Army, PNP hunt down NPAs who snatched Army trooper in North Cotabato

The military's 6th Infantry Division based here has ordered manhunt against suspected New Peoples Army who abducted a member of the 7th Infantry Battalion in Makilala, North Cotabato at dawn Thursday.

Army Private 1st Class Eduardo Hilaga, Jr. while driving on a motorbike along Barangay Malasila, Makilala, North Cotababot was flagged down by communist guerillas disguising as soldiers conducting gun ban implementation.

In his report to 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, Lieutenant Colonel Harold Argamosa, commander of the 39th IB, said Hilaga was one of some 20 motorists flagged down by about 30 New People’s Army guerrillas along a portion of the Cotabato-Davao Highway in Barangay Malasila here.

Chief Insp. Elias Colonia, Makilala police chief, said the rebels immediately took Hilaga captive when they discovered he was a soldier based on a military identification card found in his wallet.

Hilaga of the 7th IB was on his way to their headquarters in Kabacan town, also in North Cotabato, from their home in Barangay Kisante northeast of Makilala when he was snatched at past 5 a.m.

“He was on his way to Kabacan to join an Army humanitarian outreach mission intended for poor villagers,” Captain Joann Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said.

Sr. Supt. Jose Briones, North Cotabato police director, said the police public safety battalion was helping the military in hunting down the suspects believed to have fled toward the hinterland of Makilala, specifically near Mt. Apo.

Briones said responding policemen recovered from Hilaga’s black Honda motorcycle.

Motorists who were flagged down by the rebels confirmed to police investigators the NPAs indeed took Hilaga captive.

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