Trooper wounded in broad daylight ambush in Mati City

Published May 30, 2021, 3:07 PM

by Ivy Tejano

MATI CITY AMBUSH – Police probe the ambush site on the national highway in Barangay Badas, Mati City, Davao Oriental. (Mati City Information Office)
DAVAO CITY – An Army soldier was wounded in a broad daylight ambush by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Tagawisan, Barangay Badas, Mati City Sunday.

Initial report from the Army 10th Infantry Division showed that a military squad was onboard a KM450 vehicle headed to Banaybanay, Davao Oriental from Mati City when five members of the WGF (Weakened Guerilla Force) 18 of the NPA ambushed them at around 8 a.m. A firefight ensued for 10 minutes before the communist rebels withdrew toward Barangay Culian.

A soldier, identified only as Private Melendrez, a member of the Army 66th Infantry Battalion, was wounded and taken to the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center.

According to the Davao Oriental Provincial Police Office (DOPPO), the national highway in Barangay Badas was temporarily closed to all motorists bound to Mati City and Davao City for clearing operations.

Mati City Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat said in an official statement that traffic was halted on the main thoroughfare which serves as the only road for farmers to bring their products to the market for almost two hours to ensure their safety and that of motorists and travelers.

“The incident along the national highway at Sitio Tagawisan is unfortunate and we condemn such atrocious acts by lawless armed groups. For two hours, many livelihoods were affected. The armed struggle is not the way to bring peace and development to our people,” Rabat said.

Mati police are investigating the incident and that the city government will await the official result of the probe, Rabat said. She added that this is an isolated incident brought about by some circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

“I want to assure all Matinians that the city is doing its best to counter the possible adverse effects this incident may bring to our economy. Rest assured that the government authorities are doing their best to prevent similar incidents from happening again,” she said.

The Mati City mayor urged the public to stay calm and vigilant.

Army 10th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr. said the incident is a show of force tactic by the NPA to recruit new members and recover from their losses brought about by peace and development gains.