A MILITARY official said members of the New People’s Army (NPA) harassed three military detachments simultaneously around 3 a.m. Monday, March 20.
Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division spokesperson Joe Patrick Martinez said rebels fired about two to three shots simultaneously in three military detachments in Quezon, Bukidnon, Sitio Lantad in Gingoog City, and Sitio Kawali, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental.
Martinez clarified no clash between the government forces and the NPA rebels happened.
Martinez said gunshots were fired 300 to 500 meters from the army’s detachment.
“Malayo lang sa residential areas, pagkaputok nila, umalis naman agad. It’s only a nuance harassment. Hindi naman kasi sila makapasok sa ating communities kasi ito yung mga communities na palagi silang sinusumbong kaya malayo lang yung pagkakapautok (It’s far from residential areas, and after they fired, they immediately ran away. They can’t penetrate the communities because their presence would be reported by the residents to us),” Martinez said.
He added the rebels did it during dawn because everybody was still sleeping, but the military will be able to immediately respond if it happened during the day.
The immediate release of captive police Anthony Natividad could be at stake after Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano, head of the third party facilitator, decided to step back from the negotiating table.
Emano said he refused to participate this time to cool down the tension between him and the 4th Infantry Division.
This after Emano was accused by a military personnel that he was hiding Alfredo Mapano at the time when the peace talks collapsed.
“Gihangyo ko nila nga mag-negotiate para mapadali ang release nga mga police ug sundalo bihag sa NPA, pero ning balibad lang sa ko kay ipapahulay ug magpabugnaw sa ko, kay dili raba maayo ang buot sa Philippine Army sa ako ug PNP (Philippine National Police) tungod lagi sa akong pagpaningkamot, ila naman hinuon ko nga gipakasala (We were asked by the other parties to negotiate for the immediate release of captive policemen and soldiers but I refused this time because I think I need to lie low, because we know that we are not really on the same boat with the Philippine Army and the PNP. They have accused me),” Emano said.
He said he will come back and negotiate when needed but temporarily, he will stop since it is not fair to him and his family.
The Regional Peace and Order Council and the Regional Development Council can handle and lead negotiations, Emano added.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 21, 2017.