Ian Alfredo Magno
IT came as a welcome development when news broke out that the Marawi conflict has finally ended, practically. Marawi residents were just blissful by the lone fact that they could now set foot on their hometown’s soil – despite having to bear the reality of homes reduced to rubbles. Tsk tsk. While the number of internally displaced persons is not expected to diminish that quickly as the latter head their way back, the greater majority anticipates that IDP-related concerns should begin to settle down to a certain extent.
On the other side of the spectrum, however, unrest started to brew. Just recently, reports spread all over the news, print and radio that the New People’s Army ambushed elements belonging to the Philippine National Police at a certain portion of the Lanao del Sur-Bukidnon area. Apparently, the same was, in fact, followed with yet several other reports of violence allegedly perpetrated by the group.
Validating such reports, Supt. Lemuel Gonda, chief of the Public Information Office, spokesperson and deputy chief of the Regional Police Strategy Management Unit of the Police Regional Office-10, came out with Press Release no. 91-2017, dated Nov. 10 2017, about “New People Army (NPA) Murdered in Cold Blood a 4-month old female child.” It reads: “On November 9, 2017 at about 5:30 P.M. along KM28 Brgy Tikalaan, Talakag, Bukidnon, an unidentified number of New People’s Army (NPA) ambushed the Mahindra Patrol car of Amay Manabilang Bumbaran Municipal Police Station.
“At the same time, a Toyota Fortuner with plate no. UNI 707 travelling from Cagayan de Oro to Wao, Lanao del Sur on-board with eight passengers were tailing the patrol car that resulted to the untimely death of a 4-month old female child identified as Machorao Malysha who sustained a gunshot wound on her forehead and wounding other two (2) civilians namely Sittie O Ali , 53 yrs old, female, one (1) gunshot wound on her left breast and Ali Aminsalam, 37 yrs old, female, one (1) gunshot wound on her right arm, all residents of Kili-kili Wao, Lanao del Sur. Said victims were immediately brought to Bukidnon Provincial Hospital, Talakag, Bukidnon for medical treatment and then referred to Northern Mindanao Medical Center Cagayan de Oro City for surgical operation.
“P/Insp. Joven Penon Acuista, chief of police, SPO3 Arnel Castillo, SPO1 Pacifico Cabudoy, PO1 Nathaniel Ibal and one (1) civilian identified as Alexander Y. Maniscan who were onboard the Mahindra Patrol car also sustained gunshot wounds and were brought by concerned citizens to Kalilangan Bukidnon Provincial Hospital for immediate medical treatment. While SPO3 Arnel P Carillo was killed during the said encounter.
“PRO-10, AFP, government security forces and the peace loving Filipino citizens condemns (sic) the recent atrocities perpetrated by the New People’s Army. The recent attack shows that their claimed ideology of being pro-people or pro-poor is just a farce.
“P/Supt. Pacleb, extends his heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved family of the 4-month old child and SPO3 Arnel Carillo who were slain in the said ambush and to P/Insp. Acuista and his subordinates who were likewise wounded.
“PRO-10 in coordination with the AFP will pursue the investigation of the incident to hold the perpetrators responsible for their criminal act.
“The incident will never dampen the spirits of the PNP and AFP personnel in serving and protecting the people, but rather it will further strengthen their resolve in performing their mandated tasks and duties. The public is encouraged to join hands with the PNP and AFP in tracking down the insurgents who carried out the ambush.”
(Ian Alfredo T. Magno is a lawyer and legal officer of Philhealth based in Cagayan de Oro. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)