Army denies NPA claims on number of casualties

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Saturday, May 3, 2014


THE Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division denied the New People's Army (NPA) claims that they have concealed the number of soldiers killed in NPA attacks.

NPA-Southern Mindanao Regional Command spokesperson Rigoberto F. Sanchez, in a statement to Sun.Star Davao on Friday, said the Army's 10th ID has concealed the rising number of casualties on the part of the military as they intensifed psychological warfare and combat operations in the hinterlands.

"Raging against the civilians who had boldly exposed human rights abuses in the villages of Paquibato District and Talaingod, Davao del Norte, the 10th ID has taken to downplaying, if not, hiding the incidents to stir terror in the minds and hearts and civilians," Sanchez said.

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10th ID chief Major Gen. Ariel B. Bernardo, in a phone interview Saturday, said the division never concealed their casualties from the public, especially from their families. "Hindi naman pwede yun. Hindi naman maitatago na may casualties kasi karapatan ng pamilya at ng publiko na malaman kung ano ang nangyayari. In fact, we even recognized them, those [soldiers] who have risked their lives to protect the people," Bernardo said.

But Sanchez cited some incidents wherein he accused the military of hiding the number of its casualties. He said "no amount of coverup can the military stifle the growing armed struggle and increasing unity between the NPA and the masses."

He said in an incident where they discharged a command detonated explosive on Km. 3 in Barangay Fatima in Paquibato District, Davao City on April 27 at 3 p.m. hitting the a vehicle of the 69th Infantry Battalion, two soldiers were wounded.

"Yes, that's true. But it so happened that it was not published in newspapers or broadcast over television or radio. In fact, isa lang ang nasugatan dahil yung isa nabalian lang sa paa," Bernardo said.

Sanchez also said the NPA also ambushed a platoon of the 84th IB at Sitio Sled in Barangay Dalagdag in Paquibato on April 27 at around 7 a.m., killing five soldiers and wounding eight others.

Bernardo, however, belied this and dared the NPA to show proof on their claims.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 04, 2014.

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