CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 07 Feb) — Suspected communist rebels on Monday killed a soldier who responded to a report of the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Anticala, some 23 kilometers east of Butuan City.
Capt. Anthony Pueblas, spokesperson of the 402 Infantry Brigade identified the slain soldier as PFC. Roger Badayos.
Pueblas said they noticed the rebels are increasingly encroaching the villages around Butuan City, trying to envelop the highly urban center.
“The encounter happened around noon Monday as our troops approached the village,” Pueblas said.
He said the encounter was the second incident involving the NPA fighters. The first encounter happened on the same day in Kitcharao town, Agusan del Norte.
The NPA rebels have been very active after President Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to destroy the NPA.
On Feb. 4, 2018, suspected NPA rebels killed Datu Benadjao Mampaundag and his son, Jhonard Mampaundag in their house in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao City.
The father and son had just arrived from the “ Panagtagbo Alang Sa Kalinaw and Kalambuan (Gathering for peace and development) where President Duterte spoke to them at a military camp in Panacan, Davao City on February 1.
The Mampaundags along with several leaders of the Indigenous Peoples or Lumads, reportedly expressed support to the call of President Duterte “to distance themselves” from the NPA rebels.
Capt. Tere Ingente, public information officer of the 4thInfantry Division said Lumads form 60 to 80 percent of the NPA cadres in Mindanao.
Ingente said the rebels are targeting leaders of the indigenous people who are supporting the Army.
She said rebels abducted and later beheaded Mar Acebedo Bocales while he was out hunting for wild animals in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur last Jan. 29.
Bocales and his family who were allegedly members of Magahat-Bagani Force, a paramilitary group, were among the suspects in the September 1, 2015 killing of Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) and two Lumad leaders.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) International Office on January 31 said the NPA had nothing to do with the beheading.
The NDF pointed to an armed group led by a certain Emerson Cuarteron as responsible for the abduction and beheading of Bocales. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)