MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/18 June) — Five soldiers belonging to the 60th Infantry Battalion were abducted Monday afternoon by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Davao City, Capt. Raul Villegas of the 10th Infantry Division’s Public Affairs Office said in a statement today.
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Villegas identified the soldiers as Cpl. Emmanuel A. Quezon, Pvt. Marteniano B. Pasiagas Jr., and Privates First Class Ronald C. Gura, Bernie L. Padilla and Donato Estandia.
He said they were held at gunpoint by the NPA in Sitio Lubas in Barangay Paquibato, Davao City on their way to the market.
“The troops were in civilian attire without any firearms because they were going to the market to produce food supplies and coordinate with an NGO for the scheduled feeding program for the benefits of the community,” he added.
Villegas said a sixth soldier, 1Lt. Neven Calitan, escaped after noticing that armed men dressed as soldiers and manning a barricade in the area displayed “unusual demeanor”.
“Following his (Calitan) instinct he immediately leaped from the motorcycle and threw himself into a ravine,” he said.
The NPA has not issued any statement on the incident as of Tuesday afternoon.
The NPA, the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been waging an armed struggle for over four decades.
Bannered by its political umbrella, the National Democratic Front, the revolutionary group has engaged the Philippine government in on-and-off peace talks since late 1986.
In 1992, the two parties signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
Under President Benigno S. Aquino III, the two parties have started talks on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms. But the negotiation hit a snag over the demand of the NDF for the release of its “consultants” who are being detained by the Philippine government. (MindaNews)