No halt in military ops vs. NPA amid hostage-taking incident

The military would not stop combat operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) amid a hostage-taking incident, involving 12 members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and two soldiers, following an attack in Sibagat, Agusan Del Sur, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana said they would not allow the rebels to use the captured troops as leverage.

“(From what I read at the newspapers) is they want (us) to stop operation(s) (of) military in their area, but we will not stop, I think the soldiers and the CAFGUs know that we are at war with these people, (and if they are held) hostage, then that’s part of the job,” Lorenzana said, as he reiterated that the Duterte administration is committed to end the decades-long communist insurgency.

Earlier, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said that a Board of Inquiry (BOI) has been formed to investigate the rebel raid in Sibagat last Dec. 19.

He said pursuit operation is ongoing.

Detoyato also said the Philippine Army, together with the Philippine National Police, will file appropriate charges as soon as the details and facts are established by the BOI.

Aside from the capture of military personnel, the rebels also carted away automatic rifles, ammunition, a radio and other supplies. (PNA/Priam Nepomuceno)