Thursday, January 05, 2012

Army sergeant cited for bravery

An award for bravery in combat awaits an Army sergeant who led 16 militiamen in repulsing a communist rebel attack on a military detachment in a far-flung area in Agusan del Norte shortly after the holiday truce ended.
Sergeant Sixto Duyan was commander of the San Antonio Patrol Base in Barangay (village) San Antonio in the municipality of Remedios T. Romualdez when it came under heavy attack by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels at around 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The ceasefire had just ended that midnight for both government troops and communist rebels.  The government had declared an 18-day cease-fire while the NPA declared a six-day truce.
After a nearly five hours of gun battle, the estimated 50 to 60 insurgents were forced to withdraw, dragging with them their wounded or killed comrades, as reinforcements from the 3rd Special Forces Battalion arrived.
One killed rebel was left behind.
One militiaman identified as Christopher Rara was also killed. Two others were wounded namely Duyan’s assistant detachment commander Corporal Murphy Haiber and barangay official Dionisio Calbo.
The militiamen recovered from the rebels two high-powered M16 rifles, one of which had an attached M203 grenade launcher, a 500-meter detonating cord used for explosives, and assorted ammunition.
Gallantry in action
Major General Victor Felix, who oversees Army forces in northern and central Mindanao as commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division, lauded the militiamen who withstood the attack for several hours.
“Definitely, we are going to recommend an award for Sergeant Duyan for real gallantry in action and stability under pressure,” he said.
Felix said the award would go beyond his level as division commander.
He said they have warned military detachments to brace for attacks after top NPA leader in Mindanao Jorge Madlos (who uses the alias Ka Oris) vowed to stage more offensives despite the government’s attempt to restart the peace negotiations.
“We should be prepared for any of their offensive moves. They have already made a statement and I think we should take it seriously,” he said.
“I think Oris made a very categorical statement that they are going to hit some specific mining firms and we have strengthened the security posture in these areas,” Felix added.
Rebel threats
He said some of these firms have asked the military to establish special civilian active auxiliaries (SCAA) detachments in their area since they have received threats from the communist rebels.
“Yes they did (get threats) openly from Ka Oris,” Felix said.
Last October 3, in one of the most brazen raids done by the NPA, some 200 rebels staged coordinated raids on Taganito Mining Corp., its sister company Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp. and Platinum Group Metals Corp. in Surigao del Norte and burned hundreds of millions worth of equipment.
The military said these mining firms were attacked because they resisted the rebels’ extortion demands.
Aside from mining firms, agro-industrial plantations are also among the NPA’s top targets.
“We have augmented some economic centers to make sure that they would be safe. We have coordinated with the Philippine National Police and other agencies, local agencies,” Felix said.
1:28 am | Thursday, January 5th, 2012

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