DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 18, 2013) – Communist rebels have captured a government soldier and a policemen at a checkpoint in the southern Filipino province of Compostela Valley.
Rigoberto Sanchez, a spokesman for the New People’s Army, said they are holding Private First Class Jesrel Colanggo and Senior Police Officer 1 Ruel Pasion. Both were intercepted and disarmed in the village of Mangloy in Laak town on Thursday.
“The two prisoners of war are being treated well, their safety is of primordial consideration, as the NPA abides the tenets of international humanitarian law,” Sanchez told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
He said the soldier is a member of the 60th Infantry Battalion which the NPA accused as behind the series of extrajudicial killings of innocent civilians in the province.
“The 60th Infantry Battalion’s bloody record against the masses, included the summary execution of peasant Totong Mabinse, of the village of Datu in Laak town, and the forced recruitment and coercive surrender of peasants,” Sanchez said.
The capture of the soldier and policeman came a day after security forces attacked an NPA team in the village of Binondo in nearby Davao Oriental’s Baganga town and sparking a fierce fight that left a still undetermined number of soldiers dead and wounded.
Sanchez said government troops sealed entry and exit points in Davao Oriental and virtually choking the supply of humanitarian aid to victims of past typhoon, and it was also the reason why the NPA put up checkpoints in selected areas in the provinces to ensure safe passage of civilians.
Security officials or their spokesman did not give any statement about the capture of the soldier and policeman. The 10th Infantry Division and the Eastern Mindanao Command which has jurisdiction to the area also did not give any statement and army officials did not return or ignored phone calls by journalists.
The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting for decades now for the establishment of a separate state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)