A Communist Party of the Philippines Flag | Photo courtesy of PRWC_INFO
AGUSAN DEL SUR, Philippines – It has been more than a week and the New People’s Army (NPA) still holds captive of government troopers abducted on December 19.
Two Army soldiers and 12 members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were taken hostage by the communist rebels while they were on duty in a patrol base in Barangay New Tubigon in the municipality of Sibagat in Agusan Del Sur.
The soldiers, Corporal Erick Manangan and Private First Class Darlino Carino Jr., were part of the Philippine Army 3rd Special Forces manning the area.
Along with the hostages, the rebels took several military equipment as well as firearms from the base.
According to 401st IB Spokesperson Maj. Rudolfo Cordero, they are beefing up their manhunt operations to trace the hideout of the abductors after the deadline for the release of the hostages lapsed on December 25.
“Hinintay natin ang sinasabi nila na ire-release daw nila bago mag-pasko pero hanggang ngayon hindi pa nila nire-release. So meron namang crises management committee ang Sibagat Municipal government na siya na ring tumutulong makipag-usap sakaling magkaroon ng negotiation,” Cordero said.
The Philippine Army believes that abduction of government troopers are part of the NPA’s plan to compel the AFP to stop its offensives against them and a way to celebrate the communist group’s 50th founding anniversary.
Meanwhile, the AFP has created a board of inquiry which now investigates the incident for possible breach of military protocol on the part of the soldiers.
“Na-strengthen na natin ang patrol base na iyon. Actually malalakas naman ang patrol bases natin kaya nga kailangan naming maimbestigahang mabuti kung bakit nangyari (iyon),” Cordero noted.
Following the incident, the AFP appeals to the rebel abductors not to harm the captives and respect the human rights.
The military, meanwhile, assures the families of the victims that the government is doing the best it can for the safe releases of the hostages. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Raymond Octubre)