33 C
Manila
Monday, April 6, 2020
 
Home News Regions Communist rebels hold 2 soldiers in North Cotabato

Communist rebels hold 2 soldiers in North Cotabato

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Communist rebels on Sunday said that they were holding two soldiers in North Cotabato province where security forces are battling the New People’s Army (NPA).

Isabel Santiago, a spokesman for the NPA’s Herminio Alfonso Command, said that the two soldiers, Corporal Delfin Largo Sarocam and Private First Class Jayson Burgos Valenzuela of the 57th Infantry Battalion, were captured on April 14 in Datu Inda village in the province’s President Roxas town.

“The NPA declares them [Sarocam and Valenzuela] as prisoners of war,” Santiago said.


According to her, the prisoners are members of the military’s special operations team involved in counterinsurgency missions in North Cotabato.

The Armed Forces, however, said that the two are part of a team of peace and development groups involved in community works.

“Operating under the cover of peace and development activities, Sarocam and Valenzuela conducted intelligence operations, particularly [the verification of] the presence of Red fighters in the village,” said Santiago.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ [AFP] special operations in North Cotabato are aimed [at] intimidating and harassing local residents, affecting their livelihood in the process,” she added.

“Under the anti-people ‘Bayanihan’ and similar to ‘Oplan Bantay Laya,’ local residents are forced to join the AFP-enforced Barangay Defense System amid rampant harassment and extrajudicial killings against civilians among other rights violations and crimes against humanity,” the rebel spokesman said.

Bayanihan is a term used by the military to refer to the government’s anti-insurgency campaign.

“The two soldiers are being investigated by [the NPA] for serious violations they may have committed against the people and the revolution in the course of implementing the regime’s vicious counterrevolutionary war,” Santiago said.

The communist insurgents have given assurance that the rights of the prisoners are being respected in accordance with war protocols and the Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The NPA also accused the police of arresting two innocent civilians, Toto Ancahas and Gerald Robles, in Davao del Norte province’s Panabo City last week on suspicion that they were NPA members.

The duo was allegedly tortured and then paraded to the public as belonging to the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Glimmer of hope in virus-hit Europe as US girds for ‘horrific’ weeks

LONDON: European nations most ravaged by the new coronavirus on Sunday reported encouraging signs in their fight against the deadly pandemic, as the United...

Bronx zoo tiger tests positive for coronavirus

NEW YORK: A tiger at New York's Bronx Zoo has tested positive for Covid-19, the institution said Sunday, and is believed to have contracted...

Ecuador city runs out of coffins amid COVID-19 crisis

QUITO: Soaring numbers of Covid-19 deaths in Ecuador's second city Guayaquil have led to a shortage of coffins, forcing locals to resort to using...

UK PM in hospital as Queen says united effort will defeat virus

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken to hospital on Sunday after failing to shake off coronavirus symptoms, as Queen Elizabeth II said...

Oil firms slash pump prices anew

Oil companies will again lower their pump prices this week but the decrease will not be as big as the price rollback implemented last...

Today's Front Page