DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Updated 4:47 pm, Feb. 16, 2017)— A relief convoy that has just distributed goods to disaster-stricken communities in Malimono town, Surigao del Norte was shot by still unidentified number of armed men.
Captain Krisnen Peter Sarsagat, acting spokesperson for the 4th Infantry Division told Davao Today that suspected members of the New People’s Army harassed the convoy in Barangay Linunggaman in San Francisco town around 8:30 pm Tuesday. The convoy included five military vehicles and the pickup of ABS-CBN. He said there was no casualty was reported on the incident.
He said the troops just came from a successful relief operation in Malimono town with the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation.
“Ang involved dito is a platoon of the 30th Infantry Battalion together with the engineering unit of the 544th Engineering Construction Battalion,” Sarsagat said.
He said the lead vehicle was hit by a bullet on the plate number at its rear end.
“The vehicle of ABS-CBN was around 500 meters away from the first vehicle because they were having trouble,” Sarsagat said citing reports from the Army’s 30th IB unit.
Sarsagat said the Army continues to gather information on the incident.
“Our troops are currently in the area to determine the perpetrators of the incident,” he said.
He added that the Army will beef up intelligence monitoring and coordination with other security forces to prevent similar incident.
In a report in ABS-CBN on Thursday, NPA’s Front 16 spokesperson Ka Oto denied the accusation. He said the Army is only making the allegations to discredit them.
The NPA Northeastern Mindanao Region has declared a unilateral ceasefire effective February 11 at 11:55 pm until February 20, 2017 following the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that severely damaged the province.
The ceasefire covers the municipalities in Surigao del Norte and the municipalities of Cabadbaran, Tubay, Jabonga and Santiago in Agusan del Norte.
Ka Ariel Montero, regional spokesperson of the NPA said the declaration of ceasefire aims to “enable the delivery of immediate aid to the masses and for them to be given assistance towards the rehabilitation of their damaged properties and livelihood.”
“This ceasefire is being declared to give the Red fighters of the NPA in Front 16, all government agencies, including the police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and non-government organizations, the opportunity to inspect the areas affected, especially the mountain areas, for damages resulting from the earthquake,” he said. (davaotoday.com)