Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Monday condoled with the families of the two soldiers killed in an encounter between government forces and members of the New People’s Army (NPA) on Sunday morning in Sitio Bajada, Paradise Embac in Paquibato District, Davao City.
Duterte-Carpio said it was sad and unfortunate that government lost two lives and wounded six soldiers in the fight against some 50 memebers of the NPA. She however committed to assist the families left by the two soldiers.
Despite the incident, Athe mayor was still committed to open talks with the NPA, saying, it was her duty as mayor of Davao City to bring peace in the community.
Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastincom) spokesperson Maj. Ezra Balagtey confirmed Monday that the troops of the 16th Infantry Battalion encountered more or less 50 members of the Pulang Bagani Command 1 under Zaldy Canete alias Kumander Jinggoy on Sunday.
The encounter, which lasted for about two hours, left two soldiers dead and six others wounded. Balagtey identified the two fatalities as Cpl. Casidy Uday from Taguig ad PFC Freddie delos Santos from Bicol. One of those wounded is an officer while the five soldiers were enlisted personnel. He was not sure there were casualties on the other side although there were evidence of bloodstains along the way of fleeing rebels.
Balagtey said troops were able to find one M653 Colt AR18 with serial number 127538 with one magazine long, two jungle bag, one civilian bag, electrical wire and other belongings at the site.
Balagtey said the troops were responding to a reported consolidation of NPA rebels planning to conduct atrocities in Paquibato District when the army patrol was fired upon that led to the intense exchange of gunfire.
MGen Noel Clement, commander of Joint Task Haribon expressed his appreciation and grief over the death of the soldiers while vowed to pursue the NPA rebels to prevent them from coercing and intimidating the communities.
“While it is sad that we lost two of our soldiers, their ultimate sacrifice is worth noting, they displayed the finest core value of honor, duty and patriotism as they prevented a possible atrocity against our people,” Clement said in a statement. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)