THE military denied on Sunday that two government soldiers died in a clash with the New People’s Army (NPA) on Friday in Sitio Dalao-ay, Barangay Minalwang, Claveria town, Misamis Oriental.
Captain Christian Uy, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID), said the report that two 58th Infantry Battalion (58th IB) soldiers were killed in action is not true.
“Actually, there was an encounter between our troops and the NPA, but after a brief encounter that lasted about six minutes, the NPAs retreated,” Uy told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Sunday evening by phone.
Uy said no soldier was even wounded during the encounter.
The information was obtained by Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro through a statement e-mailed Sunday morning by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
In the statement, Lorena Mangahas, spokesperson of the NPA’s Eastern Misamis-Northeastern Bukidnon (NPA-Emoneb) sub-regional command, claimed that last Friday’s skirmish was the latest harassment operation of the leftist insurgents against the government troops.
Mangahas said the NPA fired on the elements of the 58th IB as they were walking on single column somewhere in Dalao-ay.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines maintained that the persons who were killed in a recent firefight in Barangay Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon were indeed members of the NPA.
Uy said Mabini Manobia, alias “Toto,” and Zaldy Ambayot, alias “Onggo,” were NPA combatants.
As proof of this, Uy said taken from them were M-16 and AK-47 rifles.
“(Manobia and Ambayot) were not guerillas operating in the area by ordinary tribal members together with the 58 datus whose ancestors have been protecting the abundant gold deposit found on their ancestral land in sitio Kiranggol, Dao,” another statement sent by the NDFP-Northern Mindanao said. (Jigger J. Jerusalem)