Publish in Manila Bulletin
Davao City – The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines refused to back down and heed a call by the New People’s Army (NPA) for the suspension of military operation (SOMO) in Bukidnon as a condition for the release of two soldiers the rebels captured last month.
“There will be no suspension of military operations (SOMO) in Bukidnon against the CPP/NPA members who were responsible for the abduction of two soldiers of the 8th Infantry Battalion on August 22, ” EastMinCom chief information officer Captain Alberto Caber said in a statement.
Caber underscored that the rebels had already “admitted to the abduction of PFC Marnel Cinches and PFC Jerrel Yurong who were both unarmed and in civilian clothes” when forcibly taken “while on their way to Barangay Buntungon, Impasugong, Bukidnon for a livelihood mission.”
The captors of Cinches and Yurong, through NPA Bukidnon spokesperson Allan Juanito, had earlier demanded for a SOMO in exchange for the two soldiers.
Instead, EastMinCom commander Major General Aurelio Baladad directed the concerned military unit commanders in the area to continue joint pursuit operations against the NPA members who were involved in the abduction of Cinches and Yurong.
“These operations contribute to the peace and security of the people and its communities in the region,” Maj. Gen. Baladad said.
Meanwhile, another NPA attack at a rubber plantation in Agusan del Sur left an undetermined number of fully-grown rubber trees and thousands of pesos worth of farm equipment destroyed.
A flash report reaching Butuan City yesterday stated that NPA rebels, with bolos and shovels, arrived at Barangay La Purisima in Prosperidad town and hacked through 40 hectares planted to fully-grown rubber trees in a seven-hour rampage through the farm reportedly owned by the Calpit family. Also destroyed were two farm tractors and a wrecker truck.
Farm workers fled during the incident while two were hogtied but later released unharmed.
Police authorities here are still determining the motive and exact worth of damage of rubber trees and farm equipments.