DAVAO CITY – The New People’s Army launched several tactical offensives Tuesday in Caraga region and in Compostela Valley province.
Captain Alberto Caber, Public Information Office chief the Philippine Army’s Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), in a press release said that about “70 NPA members attacked (tribal leader) Calpito ‘Datu Calpit’ Egua 5:30 am in Barangay Sta. Irene, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.”
Various news reports said that 12 NPAs and four of Egua’s guards were found dead while Egua was wounded.
Reportedly, after the Santa Irene incident, several firefights also broke-out involving NPA and AFP units which have both set-up their own checkpoints and have standby forces in the Agusan del Sur towns of Prosperidad and Bayugan and Agusan del Norte towns of Kitcharao and Alegria.
Caber said state forces recovered “four (4) M16 and four (4) AK-47 rifles from the NPA” while the AFP troops suffered two casualties.
Egua reportedly owns a mining venture in Surigao del Sur and is a long target of the NPA rebels.
Meanwhile, Ka Aris Francisco, spokesperson of the NPA’s Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command, said in a statement that they “ambushed the 25th Infantry Battalion-10th Infantry Division in two separate incidents July 14 evening in Laak (Compostela Valley).”
Francisco said that “at 8:15 pm in five NPA fighters opened fire against an incoming Kennedy military truck.”
“Two of the 10 troops aboard died on the spot and fell from the truck, while three others were also killed,” he said.
Almost simultaneously, “at 8:16 pm in Brgy. Andap, another NPA team discharged command detonated explosives and damaged the second of two km40 military vehicles bearing troops of the same Army unit who came from its operations in Brgy. Ampawid.”
Francisco said that they conducted the operation “(t)o do battle against the rising number of fascist troops and punish them for their atrocities.”
Francisco said that the ‘transformed’ and ‘world-class military organization’ bragged by the retiring AFP Chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista” is “all hot air.”
“Ongoing military operations in Laak, Compostela Valley and the Red Army’s tenacious battle to preserve its ranks and punish the enemy expose Bautista’s hype and the AFP’s further descent to decay,” said Francisco.
Tuesday’s attacks in the two provinces were preceded with an NPA raid last July 10 in Alegria Municipal Police Station in Surigao del Norte where the NPAs took as Prisoners of War four police officers.
Ka Maria Malaya, the spokesperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Northeastern Mindanao Region, said that “municipal PNP stations are part of the armed instruments of the state thus it is a legitimate target of the NPA.”
The NPA also admitted to killing Mayor Mario Okinlay of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon last July 2.
Allan Juanito, spokesperson of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Command, said that Okinlay was a “counterrevolutionary” and a “landgrabber.” (davaotoday.com)