THE members of the New People's Army (NPA) abducted two soldiers in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, on Thursday, February 2, a day after the termination of its unilateral ceasefire with the government.

Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Rhyan Batchar identified the two 39th Infantry Battalion soldiers as Sergeant Solaiman Calucop and Private First Class Samuel Garay.

Batchar said the two soldiers, on board a motorcycle, were on their way to headquarters of the battalion when some 10 rebels approached and abducted them in Purok 7, Barangay Telafas, Columbio at 7:30 a.m.

“The NPA is showing complete disregard of their own earlier pronouncement that their unilateral ceasefire is in effect until February 10, Friday, by continuously committing atrocities against soldiers and civilians,” Batchar said.

He added the division demands for the immediate release of the two soldiers and urged the Communist Part of the Philippines (CPP) to order the NPA to stop committing criminal acts that could only imperil the peace negotiation.

“This action of the NPA further confirms that it is never a people's army but a nuisance propaganda army of the local communists,” he said.

Batchar said Columbio Mayor Amirh Musali is holding a crisis management committee meeting to discuss the matter with the security forces and the Municipal Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council.

He added the military, police and the local government units are closely working together to address the incident.

The province is placed under heightened alert status, Batchar said, adding that the division has also instructed its line units to be vigilant and maintain proactive measures to prevent a similar incident from happening again.