Classes in Davao Sur town suspended

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014


DAVAO CITY (Updated) -- Classes in all levels in Matanao, Davao del Sur have been suspended since Monday as military hot pursuit operations are ongoing against New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who attacked the town’s police station and an Army detachment, killing two policemen and seven soldiers.

Mayor Butch Fernandez was forced to suspend classes to prevent students from being hit in the crossfire.

Military operations spread as far as the hinterlands of neighboring Magsaysay town, Hagonoy and Kiblawan, all of Davao del Sur; Colombio in Sultan Kudarat; and Tulunan in North Cotabato.

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Colonel Norman Marcus Flores, commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, warned his men against landmines possibly planted by the fleeing members of the NPA’s Front Committee 72 led by one Felix Amodia alias Commander Jing.

Around 4 a.m. Monday, some 50 NPA rebels on board a jeepney and trucks attacked Matanao Municipal Police Station.

Davao del Sur Provincial Police Office (DSPPO) Director Ronaldo Llanera said the gunbattle lasted for around 30 minutes.

Llanera identified only two of the fatalities in the police station attack as Senior Police Officer 1 Manolo Booc and Senior Police Officer 3 Danny Moalong. The wounded policemen were Inspector Renato Uy, Police Officer 1 Sherwin Cadungog, and Police Officer 1 Gilbert Legaspi.

The rebels snatched seven M16 automatic rifles, two 9mm pistols, one .45 caliber pistol and two hand-held radios.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) Public Information Office head Captain Alberto Caber said two NPA rebels were later killed in a pursuit operation at Sitio Tagaytay in Barangay Savoy, Matanao town.

Caber said troops of the Army's 39th Infantry Battalion encountered around 6:50 a.m. Monday the rebels who attacked the Matanao police station earlier. The clash took about two hours, he added.

Seven members of the 39th Infantry Battalion were killed while eight others were wounded when the vehicle they were riding was hit by a landmine explosion on Monday morning while they were chasing the rebels in Barangay Asbang in Matanao.

Meanwhile, authorities have identified the nine suspected rebels who were arrested by troopers in a checkpoint in Sitio Tagaytay, Saboy, Matanao, Davao del Sur. They were Joey Alberca, 21, resident of Zamboanga del Sur; Loudemer Gama, 52, resident of Bagumbayan, Malalag, Davao del Sur; Rufo D. Gama, 41, of Tulonan, North Cotabato; Noel Maranggit, 56, of Talomo, Davao City; isang nagngangalang Renante, 34, nakatira sa Purok Pradise; John Rey Pabillo, 26, resident of Tulonan, North Cotabato; Christopher Sales, 28, New Baguio, Makilala, North Cotabato; Ryan Natonton, 25, resident of Betoan, Tolonan, North Cotabato, and Julieto Sales, 34, a native of North Cotabato. (PNA/ Sunnex)

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