DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 March) – Soldiers belonging to the Philippine Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion (28IB) rescued on Monday a wounded communist rebel, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) reported on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) spokesperson, identified the member of the New People’s Army as “Randy” (real name withheld), who was rescued last March 18 somewhere in the boundary of Lupon and Brgy. Las Arenas in Pantukan, Compostela Valley.
The 28-year-old rebel was wounded when government troops engaged in brief firefight with NPA rebels last March 17. Randy was rescued by soldiers when his companion left him behind after they were subdued by government troops.
Balagtey also cautioned the public of what he described as a “propaganda” peddled by Save Our Schools Network (SOS) who reported earlier this week that a militiaman had slain a Lumad teen in the hinterlands of Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
On Tuesday, SOS spokesperson Rius Valles said that Jerome Pangadas, a resident of Sitio Kamingawan, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte and a Grade 6 pupil of Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, was killed by a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) last March 15.
Pangadas was killed after a bullet hit his head.
But Balagtey belied Valles’s claim and tagged the SOS report as “distorted.”
“The CAA [Civilian Active Auxiliary, the CAFGU member] did not shoot the Lumad student. It was his brother Jimbo Valintin who accidentally did it when he fired his improvised shotgun targeting a certain Andomy Umasay who was with the CAA at that time,” Balagtey said in a statement sent to reporters Tuesday.
The military official said that the incident transpired last January 7, contrary to SOS’s claim that the incident happened on March 15, noting the case was settled through the tribal justice system which is allowed in the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA).
“In fact, the troops mediated and helped out in caring for those who were harmed and killed during the unfortunate incident. The situation in the community has been normal and peaceful since the settlement was reached,” he said.
Balagtey warned the media and netizens “to beware of fake news or propaganda being sent to you or posted in social media.” (Mart Sambalud / MindaNews)