CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/03 February) — Three Army soldiers were killed in a clash with communist guerrillas in Bukidnon only hours after the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army announced the termination of their unilateral ceasefire declaration.
Ka Allan Juanito, NPA spokesperson for North Central Mindanao, said the soldiers, who belonged to the 8th Infantry Battalion were intercepted by a rebel unit at around 5pm in Sitio Kalib, Barangay Kibalabag, Malaybalay City last Feb. 1.
Juanito said the soldiers were aboard two motorcycles and armed with three caliber .45 pistols.
“The soldiers tried to resist and pulled out their guns prompting our guerrillas to fire first in self defense,” he said in a statement.
The NPA official said they identified one of the soldiers as Pat Olango, of Barangay Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City through his identification papers.
Capt. Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division said they are withholding the names of the soldiers pending notification of their families.
Martinez said the soldiers were conducting Bayanihan Team Activity in Kibalabag for a month, and were returning to their headquarters to attend to some matters and get their food allowances.
He said the NPA waylaid the soldiers as they were returning back to the village.
“Our soldiers recovered the bodies around midnight. The bodies bore multiple gunshot wounds,” he said.
The NPA also burned two equipment of fruit giant Del Monte Philippines and a dump truck owned by a Bukidnon landowner.
On Wednesday, the CPP-NPA said it was terminating the unilateral ceasefire because the government “has complied the non-compliance by government with its obligation to amnesty and release of political prisoners,” and has “treacherously taken advantage of the unilateral declaration of interim ceasefire to encroach on the territory of the people’s democratic government.”
It said the unilateral ceasefire ends on 11:59 pm of February 10. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)