(UPDATED) FIVE suspected members of New Peoples Army (NPA), including a teacher who was charged for human trafficking of indigenous peoples (IP) children from Talaingod, Davao del Norte to Cebu, were killed in an encounter in Purok 8, Barangay Andap, New Bataan, Davao de Oro on Thursday, February 24, 2022.
In a press release from the 10th Infantry Division (10ID) of the Philippine Army, the fatalities were identified as Jojarain Alce Nguho II alias Rain, Chad Booc alias Chad, a certain alias Daday and two still unidentified males.
The 10ID said the encounter between government forces and the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, believed to be led by Eric Jun Casilao alias Wally/Ellan, and Regional Operations Command, SMRC led by Leo Lacumbo alias Ole, happened around early Thursday morning.
The army said the communist group scampered and withdrew southwards after a 15-minute firefight leaving one M653 rifle, one caliber .45 pistol, one hand grenade, one anti-personnel mine, assorted food supplies, and personal belongings.
Booc, who was among those who were killed in the encounter, was also one of those arrested by the Central Visayas police after being involved in bringing IP children from Davao del Norte to Cebu on February 15, 2021.
Collectively identified as "Bakwit School 7," Booc’s group allegedly kidnapped and brought the IP children to the retreat house of the Societas Verbi Divini Philippines Southern Province, University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus in Cebu City.
The "Bakwit School 7" is composed of Booc, Segundo Lagatos Melong, Benito Dalim Bay-ao, Moddie Langayed Mansimoy-at, Esmelito Oribawan, Roshelle Mae Porcadilla, and Jomar Benag.
The group was later released following the decision of the court in Cebu.
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PRO 7 ‘rescues’ 19 indigenous minors from Cebu retreat house
On May 14, 2021, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor (OPP) of Davao del Norte in Tagum City has ordered the immediate release of the "Bakwit School 7" after it dismissed the criminal charges filed against them by the Philippine National Police Anti-kidnapping Group (AKG).
The 10ID reported that Booc, a Cum Laude graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a degree of Bachelor of Computer Science, was a known activist and recruiter to the communist group even in his student days.
The army also said he was also involved in Manilakbayan, a protest march organized by the communist involving IPs coming mainly from Mindanao in 2015.
After his college days, Booc reportedly volunteered as a Mathematics teacher in the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (Alcadev) in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, and later on volunteered for the Bakwit School in Cebu.
"These CPP-NPA affiliated schools including Salugpungan Schools in Davao Region were all closed down by the government," the 10ID reported.
1001st Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Jesus Durante III said the neutralization Booc proves that Alcadev and other "so-called Lumad Schools" have been "breeding grounds of the" communist groups.
"It is in these institutions where innocent IP children are being radicalized and influenced to take arms against the government,” Durante said in a press release.
He also urged parents whose children are still in these institutions to rescue their children immediately.
“We call on to the parents whose children are still with these institutions to take action. Rescue your children immediately before it’s too late. Seek help from the authorities so that we can eventually rescue them,” Durante added.
The recent encounter comes after the 1001st Brigade six clashes which led to the neutralization of top NPA personalities to include Menandro Villanueva, Secretary of NPA’s Komisyong Mindanao, and the recovery of war materiel.
Photos from 10th Infantry Battalion
February 25, 2022
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