PRESS STATEMENT | February 7, 2017 | PH
This press statement is a rejoinder and clarification to the ongoing questions and misperception that the AFP spreads to the public.
In reference to NPA-NCMR statement dated February 2, the incident last February 1 resulting to the death of Corporal Pat O. Non, Corporal Nino Christopher Talabor and Sergeant Owen Yee of the 8th IB, while conducting psywar operations in Brgy. Kibalabag and Manalog, Malaybalay City was a LEGITIMATE ENCOUNTER.
Here is a brief background of the incident.
The 8th IB troops began their encampment on October 26 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon in Brgy. Kibalabag and on November 24 at 3 p.m. in Brgy. Manalog. Until this day, they have not pulled-out from these two barangays.
This is contrary to what the 8th IB wanted the general public to believe that they have assigned their troops in the said barangays to deliver social services. In fact, they are spreading decadent influence to the peace-loving residents like drinking sprees, gambling and pornography. They intend to corrupt the minds of our youth, disengaging them from the mass movements and struggles. They even obliged the barangay councils to pass a resolution requesting their presence as protection but they refused.
These incidents were already submitted to the ceasefire committee of the NDFP and furnished a copy to the GRP. The NPA-NCMR have warned these troops to pull out from the barrios since November 20 last year. The NPA-NCMR exposed their provocative actions during COPD such as interrogations and pinpointing NPA encampments, and scouring to the forested areas of the barangay using civilians as guides.
The NPA command has long been seeking for ways to investigate and put an end to these violations. Thus, on February 1 at 5:20 in the afternoon, two Red fighters under the NPA-South Central Bukidnon flagged down the three soldiers onboard two motorcycles as they arrived at Sitio Kalib, Brgy. Kibalabag from Malaybalay City. Two troopers made a move of pulling out their pistols, forcing the NPA squad positioned alongside the road to open fire.
The allegation that the three were arrested and killed after was therefore not true. That they were unarmed was also not true. As a matter of fact, three .45 pistols were seized from them. They are Armscor issues with serial numbers 2052053, bb01224 and 1435922. Additionally, the NPA field units never took money from what the AFP claimed to be their subsistence allowance from the ATM. The wallets of Sgt. Yee and Cpl. Talabor were never taken. Only the wallet with an ID card and documents of Cpl. Non was retrieved.
What Capt. Tagros of the 8th IB stated about their alleged following up resources for an ongoing project in support to the COPD in the barrio was also false. For the whole duration of their stay, not even a single sack of cement was being delivered by them to the said barrios.
Moreover, the three corpses were not desecrated other than the gunshot wounds. Since their bodies were not immediately retrieved for more than 24 hours, their bodies must have decomposed due to the changing weather conditions.
The sincerity of the revolutionary movement, especially by the NPA, to the peace negotiations should not be doubted. The 164 days of the NPA’s unilateral ceasefire since August 21, 2016 to January 31, 2017 was proof enough, in which not even one violation was committed. All prisoners of war released by the NPA from the previous years will prove that it abides by the rules of war and adheres the rights of the prisoners stated on the CARHRIHL.
To the families, relatives and friends of the fallen soldiers, we offer our sincere condolences. This incident happened while the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the GRP are going on. It has been a consequence to Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire that AFP-PNP-CAFGU has since violated by invading the areas of the revolutionary movement. They suppress and hassle the livelihood and daily activities instead of bringing peace and development to the people of more than 500 barangays they supposed to serve.
Ka Allan Juanito
Spokesperson, NPA – NCMR