Lumad recruitment by NPA still has not stopped: army

THE MILITARY accused the New People’s Army (NPA) of continuing to recruit Lumads and strengthen their forces to fight government forces in the hinterlands.

This was also confirmed by President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent press briefing in Butuan City on Saturday when he said that 75% of the NPA fighters belong to the indigenous communities.

Three alleged members of NPA belonging to Manobo and B’laan tribe were killed in an encounter with Troops of 67th Infantry Battalion at Km. 35, Barangay Taytayan, Cateel, Davao Oriental on Saturday around 1:45 a.m.

Meanwhile, soldiers were able to recover five-high powered firearms and IEDs.

Capt. Andrew Linao, the civil-military operations officer (CMO) of 701st Infantry Brigade, told TIMES that troopers of the 67th Infantry Battalion encountered about 10 rebels at the said place, which lasted for 45 minutes.

Upon conducting clearing operation, they were able to recover one M14, one AK47, two M16 rifles and one M203. They were able also to recover two improvised explosive devicesĀ  and personal belongings.

The three killed were identified only as alias MJ, 28, a Manobo and former member of Pulang Bagani Command 8 and a member of ABE squad of NPA; alias Brix, 21, Manobo; and Alias Dodong, 20, a B’laan.

Linao said Alias Brix and Dodong were new recruits of Guerilla Front 25 they joined the movement last April 16.

He said the bodies recovered only proved that the NPA exploitation of the Lumads still continues.

Duterte, meanwhile, said that those NPA members who surrender can be guaranteed a job like being integrated into the AFP, just like the former Moro National Liberation Front members before after signing the peace accord during the Ramos administration.

“If you are concerned that you won’t have jobs if you surrender, those NPA who are qualified, I will get you for the Armed Forces,” Duterte said last Saturday. “That is my deal for you. If your rank is corporal, your salary will still be corporal. You will be a part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.

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