Soldier dies, 2 civilians hurt in NPA attack in Southern Mindanao

October 25, 2009 10:43 pm 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Oct. 26 — The New People’s Army (NPA) rebels staged an attack in a religious gathering killing a soldier and injured two civilians in southern Mindanao region, a military official said.

Capt. Emmanuel Garcia, public affairs officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said the attack took place around 1 p.m. Sunday in Malabog, an upland barangay in Paquibato district Davao City.

Garcia identified the slain soldier as Cpl. Orly Pedregoza of the 10th Infantry Division, who died on the spot from multiple bullet wounds.

Wounded were Jefrey Labtic, a “habal-habal” driver and and Jolito Atig, a Lumad farmer. Both suffered gunshot wounds and are now recuperating in a local hospital.

Garcia said Pedregoza was talking to other members of the Philippine Independent Church when two young NPA rebels appeared and opened fire using high-powered firearms.

“He (Pedregoza) was practically defenseless as he was attending a religious festivity of Filipinista, Philippine Independent Church, a local Christian religious sect, when simultaneously attacked by at least two youthful gunmen while talking to some friends and acquaintances,” Garcia said.

Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, chief of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, has condemned the attack and expressed grief over the incident.

“The killing of an individual and wounding of two others in the middle of a community activity showed the true nature of the organization where the perpetrators belong. This is a total disregard to the safety of civilians and contempt to a peaceful gathering in a community,” Mapagu said.

“We condemn the killings perpetrated by this atrocious group in the strongest term possible and pray that the wheel of justice grind in the interest of truth and of the people. We commiserate with the families of the many victims of these terrorists as we appeal for sobriety in the pursuit of legal remedies so that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes could be brought before the bar of justice and ultimately serve the punishment due them.” Mapagu added.

Garcia said Pedregoza is the latest victim this month in the string of murder cases in Southern Mindanao Region perpetrated by the NPAs.

Garcia identified the other victims of the NPAs as Tulang brothers namely Datu Intoy Baguio, 71 and Pablo Ebero, 72, and Silvano delas Alas, a 50-year old farmer.

“In all of these atrocities, the NPAs admitted excesses and mistakes on the part of their men who were tasked to carry out its death orders but made no effort to punish them,” he said. (PNA)

FFC/TPG/mec

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