BUTUAN CITY – Government troops rescued a wounded commander of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) who was believed abandoned by his comrades-in-arms fleeing to the hinterlands of Barangay Bangonoy, in Jabonga town Agusan del Norte on Thursday after a series of gunbattle with the Philippine Army’s 29the Infantry (Matatag) Batallion.
Civil Military Operations (CMO) Officer of the 29th IB 2nd Lt. Rose Ann Mae U. Cordova told The Manila Bulletin on Friday that the series of encounters between the operating 29th IB troops and the CTGs also led to the discovery of the enemy encampment in the nearby Bangonay Mountains.
“While our operating troops were scouring the perimeter of the enemy encampment, they saw the heavily wounded CTG commander hiding behind a huge rock,” 2nd Lt. Cordova said.
“Our operating troops are still scouring the captured rebel camp,” the CMO officer added.
The encountered rebels belonged to Guerilla Front 16 (GF16) under certain “Kumander Edroy”, Front Secretary of GF16.
The wounded NPA is a notorious red fighter who was identified as “Kumander Cadong,” 30 years old, Squad Leader of Sentro De Grabidad (SDG), Guerilla Front 16 (GF16) of the CPP-NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), said Lt. Cordova.
“The said NPA leader was left behind and abandoned by his fleeing comrades-in-arms during an intense firefight,” Lt. Cordova said.
No one was hurt on the government side while an undetermined number of rebels were believed killed or wounded during the clashes, the military report said.
The government troops were still pursuing the running rebels as of press time.
The captured New People’s Army commander is also facing multiple charges for the alleged commission of heinous crimes. He has warrants of arrest for multiple attempted murder, multiple attempted homicide, kidnapping, and serious illegal detention, and other charges issued by the courts in the province of Agusan del Norte, the 29th IB CMO officer said.
After being informed of his constitutional rights, the NPA leader was properly turned over to Regional Intelligence Division 13 (RID13) for his proper disposition, Lt. Cordova said.
With respect to the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHR-IHL) and the value of life, the wounded CTG leader was immediately treated and brought to the nearest hospital by the 29th IB medical team, the 29th IB CMO added.
Meanwhile, 29th IB commanding officer Col. Jason M. Saldua commended his field operating troops for extending immediate humanitarian assistance to the rebel commander.
“I commend the troops for immediately aiding the wounded CTG leader to save his life,” he said. “With that, we want to show the rebels who wish to surrender that, this is how we treat a former rebel who is now under our care. Needless to say, how much we give respect to humanity, we will always respect human life and treat the wounded even during armed conflict,” the 29th IB commander said.
“Rest assured that the Matatag troopers will always abide by the stated policies, guidelines, and procedure on human rights in all their operations against known enemies of the state to respect and protect the rights of the Filipino citizen,” he said.
“To our brothers and sisters who are still in the ranks of Communist Terrorist Group, lay down your arms, avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) benefits, and start a peaceful life with your family and loved ones,” Col. Saldua added.