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Militiaman dead, 4 wounded in NPA ambush in Davao del Norte

The Philippine Star
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Philippines News Agency) -- Barely two days after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire for the communist rebels on Monday during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), members of the New People’s Army on Wednesday ambushed a convoy of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit militiamen in Davao del Norte.
 
A CAFGU member and four others were wounded during the ambush that took place early Wednesday morning in Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, Capt. Rhyan Batchar, chief information officer of the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division, said.
 
He did not identify the militiaman nor the four others wounded in the attack.
 
“This is a clear disregard by the NPAs to the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire by President Duterte,” Captain Batchar told reporters here on Wednesday afternoon.
 
He said that in line with the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire, the CAFGU members were ordered to pull out from their position in Sitio Kapatagan and return to their patrol base in Sitio Patil.
 
The NPAs ambushed the militiamen before they could return to base, Batchar said.
 
On Wednesday, during the regular AFP-PNP press conference at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City, Batchar told reporters that Army operations in the whole Davao region and in neighboring provinces in Mindanao under the jurisdiction of the 10th ID had stopped after the president's declaration and and upon the orders of the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya.
 
“But we will continue our support to law enforcement operations, protect the communities and the people in our areas of jurisdiction,” Batchar clarified.
 
He said the Army will also continue to secure vital government installations and flagship projects being implemented in the area.
 
“We will not lower our guard. We will always be on alert despite the presence of the unilateral ceasefire,” Batchar said.
 
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) welcomed the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Duterte.
 
NDFP chair Luis Jalandoni said they still need to receive and study the full text of the declaration before making their move.
 
The Philippine National Police in Davao region (PNP PRO-11) will also abide by the unilateral ceasefire declaration but will continue to perform its law enforcement tasks in the area.
 
“We will comply with the ceasefire as far as offensives and combat operations are concerned,” Chief Inspector Andrea dela Cerna, spokesperson of PNP PRO-11, said in the same press conference on Wednesday.
 
Dela Cerna added that the PNP in the area will continue to perform its law enforcement functions against all forms of criminality. The intensified campaigns against illegal drugs will also continue in the region, she added.

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