DAVAO CITY – A soldier was wounded in a 10-minute firefight between government troops and New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay Badas, Mati City, Davao Oriental on Sunday morning.
Based on the report of the 10th Infantry Division (10ID), the Alpha Company of the 66th Infantry Battalion (66IB) was on board a military truck bound for Banaybanay town from Barangay Taguibo when more or less 10 NPA Guerrilla Front 18 rebels ambushed them near Punta Tagawisan.
In an interview, Maj. Jerry Lamosao, spokesperson of 10ID, said the wounded soldier was hit at the back and taken to Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center (DOPMC) in Barangay Dahican.
“He is now in stable condition,” he told the Philippine News Agency.
Lamosao said the 66IB immediately deployed more troops to hunt down the communist terrorist group.
Traffic was halted along the main thoroughfare, which serves as the only farm-to-market road, for about two hours, according to Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat who condemned the “atrocious act”.
“Today’s incident along the national highway in Sitio Tagawisan, Barangay Badas is unfortunate and we condemn such atrocious act by a lawless armed group. For two hours, many livelihoods were affected,” she said in a statement.
Rabat added that the incident underscored the fact that armed struggle is not the way to bring peace and development.
“For now, I want to assure all Matinians that the City of Mati is doing its best to counter the possible adverse effects this incident may bring to our city’s economy. Rest assured that the police and the military, with the support of the local government, are doing their best to prevent a similar incident from happening again,” she added.
Rabat also appealed to the public to remain calm and vigilant as authorities are already investigating the incident.
“We will wait for the official result of their probe. This is an isolated incident brought about by some circumstances beyond our control,” she stated.
Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., commander of the 10ID, downplayed the terroristic act as a show of force tactic to recruit new members and recover their losses brought about by peace and development gains.
“The few remaining terrorist rebels just wanted to project strength by conducting terrorist acts even with their already weak force to show that they are still a force to reckon with. They resort to this cowardly act to recruit new members and generate resources from their loss as their number continues to drop due to the convergence of the community, local government units, and the Army in Davao Oriental against insurgency,” he said in a statement.
He assured the public to remain calm as the situation is under control while urging everyone to be vigilant in reporting suspicious movements and activities of individuals to the army and the police.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)