By RICARDO FERMIZA
Magtanggol Roque Command
Guerilla Front 51 Operations Command
The New People’s Army’s Magtanggol Roque Command-Guerilla Front 51 Operations Command in Southern Mindanao ambushed a platoon of enemy troops under the 57th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army-Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), killing four of the troops including an Army sergeant last 16 August at 11:00 AM in Sitio (subvillage) Malumpine, Barangay (village) Old Balatukan in Makilala town, North Cotabato. No casualties were reported on the side of the Red fighters.
The enemy troops were conducting combat operations related to the four prisoners of war from the BJMP/PNP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology / Philippine National Police) when hit by the Red fighters. These operations went full-scale since the taking of the four POWs last 21 July at the Davao-Bukidnon national highway.
Despite the assurance of the NPA custodial unit, the Herminio Alfonso Command-Guerilla Front 53 Operations Command, that the rights of the four prisoners of war (POWs) were fully respected; and their safety and welfare fully ensured, the AFP continues to endanger their lives with these combat operations in the boundaries of Davao, Bukidnon and North Cotabato provinces.
Again, the Aquino government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines must understand that military and police offensive operations in the guerilla areas will only put the lives of the POWs in peril and will be met with tactical offensives by the NPA.