CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 04 March) — Classes in three schools in Misamis Oriental were suspended since Monday as clashes between the mlitary and the New People’s Army (NPA) intensified over the week.
Governor Yevgeny Emano said the Department of Education (DepEd) had to order the suspension of classes in the elementary schools of Barangays Kaulayanan, Matampa and Guinalaban, all in Sugbongcogon town because of the ongoing fighting.
“The fighting was near the schools and the children and teachers could hear the loud explosions. I had to ask DepEd to suspend the classes,” Emano told MindaNews.
Emano and the provincial government of Misamis Oriental also ordered the suspension of all mountain trekking activities in Mt. Sumagaya and Mt. Lumot which straddle Claveria town and Gingoog City.
Two soldiers were killed while four others were wounded as Army teams pursued an NPA band that staged a “lightning checkpoint” along the Butuan-Cagayan de Oro national highway in Medina town on February 21.
President Rodrigo Duterte posthumously awarded Army Corporal Marzon Morales and Private Oshin Rosala who were killed in the series of clashes in Misamis Oriental.
Duterte also pinned the wounded personnel medal on Pfc. Vincent Nino Lopez; Pfc. Marquin Variacion; Privates Regie Joy Duyan and Ramon Balibagon whom the President visited in Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City last Friday.
Misamis Oriental provincial tourism officer Yvonne Waga warned local and foreign tourists that trekking up to these mountains are considered “too risky” because of the ongoing clashes.
“Assurance for their safety are low. It is better to wait until the fighting comes to an end,” Waga said in a statement.
Duterte told reporters in Cagayan de Oro he was ready to resume the peace talks and ceasefire with the National Democratic Front (NDF) but wants to make sure of sincerity in the talks. He also said the NPA should release its captives and stop demanding revolutionary taxes (see other story).
The NDF in Mindanao had earlier said the NPA in four regions in Mindanao will release their captives — three soldiers, one policeman and two paramilitary elments — in four regions in Mindanao as soon as the military and police suspends operations in the areas. (Froilan O. Gallardo / MindaNews)