DAVAO CITY – The Philippine military on Tuesday accused communist rebels of attacking troops deployed in Surigao City in Mindanao.
Officials said three soldiers who are members of the so-called peace and development team (PDT) were wounded in the Monday attack in the village called Mat-i and condemned the assault by New People’s Army rebels. Three more attacks were reported in the villages of San Isidro, Mahayahay and Hinambangan all in Agusan del Norte’s Kitcharao town.
“These atrocities ran contrary to the spirit of the peace process especially in the delivery of basic services to support far flung communities. These PDTs are stationed in depressed communities to facilitate the delivery of basic government services in collaboration with different government agencies,” said army Major Ezra Balagtey, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command.
He said rebels also murdered Albert Sablada, accused of organizing anti-NPA militias, on January 16 in the village of Saloy in Calinan district in Davao City; and and suspected drug dealer Neptali Alfredo on January 23 in Tabaon village in Paquibato district.
Just recently, rebel forces also seized Private First Class Erwin Salan, a member of the 30thInfantry Battalion, in the village of Budlingin in Surigao del Norte’s Alegria town. There was no immediate statement from the NPA – fighting for many decades now for the establishment of a separate state - which is currently negotiating peace with Manila. But it also accused government soldiers of attacking rebel forces in the restive region. (Mindanao Examiner)