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Three Rebel Encounters and A Militiaman’s Release


The NPA has finally released Private First Class Rodello Canada Arigonan of the 1001st Brigade of the Philippine Army. Arigonan was freed at about 1:00 p.m. in Brgy. Panangan, Maco town, Compostela Valley on August 24. The release was facilitated in cooperation with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte along with members of Sowing the Seeds of Peace. Unfortunately, the soldier’s wife wasn’t on site to welcome him back to the family as the military opted to keep her at the Brigade’s Headquarters in the said municipality.

While the NPA claimed that humanitarian consideration was the reason behind the release of the captive soldier, the military believed that it was public pressure that has forced the rebel group to free another prisoner of war. Many times, the family appealed for assistance following the victim’s abduction which lasted for almost a month. After all, isn’t it a contradiction for the rebels to show compassion when they were driven by vindictive justice to bomb a military headquarters and abduct a soldier on August 3 in Compostela Valley?

For all it’s worth, the communist group recently extended humanitarian gesture by initiating temporary ceasefire in the wake of Typhoon Maring’s devastation, which by the way, was reciprocated by government security forces. But, the AFP isn’t likely to return the favor by setting free one its members despite the NPA’s demand to release NDFP Consultant Ma. Loida Tuzo Magpatoc, who was allegedly arrested and detained at Camp Bagong Diwa.

Since a temporary ceasefire can only do so much, three rebel encounters were reported in the past couple of days. On August 24, the Philippine Army revealed that a militiaman was killed when members of the NPA attacked a military detachment in the town of Kidlawan in Saranggani while two rebels were slain in the ensuing pursuit operation. The recently attacked military detachment has been frequently harassed by red fighters according to AFP’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade.

A clash between rebels and soldiers transpired in Purok 6, Brgy. Carromata, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur on August 26 when two troops from the Alpha Company of the 36th Infantry Battalion encountered a group of 15 red fighters. Such an incident resulted to a 20-minute gunfight which injured one soldier and several others on the rebel group’s camp. Outnumbered by soldiers, the NPA rebels retreated in the Northwest.

Another encounter, which only lasted for approximately four minutes, transpired between the 1st Platoon of Bravo Company of the 36th Infantry Battalion and a small band of rebels. The brief firefight happened in the morning of August 27 with no reported casualties on both sides as the five rebels managed to flee toward unknown direction.

Meanwhile, the NPA has recently promised to stage more and more attacks not only against government forces but also against what they referred to as “notorious enemy elements” in Agusan del Sur in view of punitive actions for human rights violations and environmental degradation. It was enraged by the displacement of Agusanon Manobos to Davao City due to alleged military abuses. Also, the group was further agitated by large-scale mining operations allegedly violating the revolutionary government’s environmental policies.