MANILA—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday strongly condemned the series of unprovoked New People’s Army (NPA) attacks which resulted in the death of two soldiers, wounding of three and abduction of one during the past two days.
These rebels attacks took place in Echague, Isabela, Surigao City and Surigao Del Norte, AFP public affairs officers chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
The first incident happened Sunday when around 15 NPA rebels abducted an unarmed and civilian-clad Pfc. Erwin Salan of the 30th Infantry Battalion.
The victim and some civilian volunteers just came a civic-action activity in Barangay Budlingin, Alegria, Surigao Del Norte when snatched by the rebels.
“He is on a legitimate, non-military activity intended to help preserve a tourist spot which is the source of livelihood for the locals of Algeria, Surigao,” Arevalo said.
On Monday, around 8:45 a.m., a trooper from the 86th Infantry Battalion was killed and the other wounded but later died while undergoing treatment when ambushed by NPA rebels in Echague, Isabela.
“The unarmed victims on-board a motorcycle were waylaid while they were on their way to Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office in San Isidro to follow up a tree-planting project,” he added.
Also on Monday noon, an estimated 10 NPAs attacked the troops of 30th Infantry Battalion who were supporting the local government unit in Sitio Brazil, Barangay Mat-i, Surigao City with their “peace and development” activities.
“Three soldiers were wounded. More could have been killed or wounded where if not for the prompt action of the troops who managed to push the rebels to withdraw out of the community,” Arevalo said.
The AFP public spokesperson officer called this series of attacks very disturbing and said they have reported the incidents to the appropriate authorities.
“We have reported these unfortunate incidents to the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process. While we adhere to the primacy of the peace process, we demand the release of Pfc. Salan. We urged them to stop attacking the soldiers,” he added.
Arevalo said these attacks violate the NPA’s declaration of their own ceasefire.
“Those acts are actually assault to the communities and its people who sought for the assistance of the Army in improving their lives,” he added.