MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday stated that the New People’s Army (NPA) will be made accountable for the abduction and illegal detention of five Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) surveyors last Friday in Compostela Valley.
The DENR personnel were abducted by the NPA in Barangay New Leyte, Maco, Compostela Valley Province around 2 p.m. last Friday.
This prompted troops from the Eastern Mindanao Command to conduct calculated operations so as to protect the civilians being illegally held by the rebels.
Contrary to what the NPA is claiming, the contractors were there to bring services to the people by undertaking validation and survey on the government’s National Greening Program in the area.
“They used an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for anti-logging aerial reconnaissance and not for intelligence surveillance,” AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.
He added that it was paranoia on the part of the NPA for believing that the civilians were using the UAV for intelligence surveillance even calling them as instruments of mass genocide and civilian destruction.
A UAV is not a spying equipment alone and can also be used for other services supporting development.
This is not the first time the NPAs abducted civilians in Compostela Valley, Zagala stressed.
Last month, about 70 rebels belonging to the NPA’s Guerilla Front 2 and Pulang Bagani Command 6 took 39 civilians as human shields in Barangay Golden Valley, Mabini.
These are the same group that perpetrated the abduction in Maco town, about 10 kilometers away from Mabini.
Following the release of the civilians Mondayt, AFP troops vowed to intensify its operations against the NPAs particularly in Davao area where they continue to participate in illegal activities such as small-scale mining, extortion and kidnapping.
“The NPA resort to hostage-taking, abduction and detention on anything that can compromise their disposition. These are criminal acts and violation of the human rights that continue to endanger lives of innocent civilians,” Zagala pointed out.
He added that the AFP is ready to impose its forces shall it be needed, and exhaust all our efforts to put in the bars of justice, NPA members who are guilty of these crimes.