Six civilians were caught by the 36th Infantry Battalion after they were allegedly carrying food and supplies for the communist rebels.
The military identified them as Lisa Bacor Clorina, 39; Isagani De Castro Nazareno, 36; Gino De Castro Nazareno, 42; Cyrel Nazareno, 30; Juan de Castro Nazareno, 28; Cherry Mae Maquiling, 31; all residents of Barangay Gamuton, Lanuza, Surigao del Sur.
The arrests were made following the encounter between New People’s Army rebels and soldiers in Vic Bibian, Barangay Mampi, Lanuza at 11:20 a.m. on Saturday.
1Lt. Jonald Romorosa, the Civil-Military Operations officer of the 36th IB, said the soldiers were responding to reports from residents about the presence of armed men in the area. They were believed to belong to the Guerrilla Front 30, Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee under Joel Mahinay alias Nico.
Romorosa said the firefight lasted about 10 minutes before the rebels scampered to different directions.
The military confiscated four boxes of corned beef, one box bihon, one gallon cooking oil, one gallon soy sauce, one gallon vinegar, four trays of fresh eggs, one pack biscuits, 24 pieces of noodles, 36 pieces of sardines, five pads of notebooks and pencils, and two motorcycles.
Based on Article 4, Part 4 of the International Humanitarian Law, “civilian population and civilians shall be treated such and shall be distinguished from combatants and together with their property, and not be the object of attack.”
Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad, the commanding officer of the 36th IB, in his statement, said, “It is also disheartening that CPP-NPA terrorists threaten the civilians and use them as their courier for their futile cause.”
He said “this is another violation of the International Humanitarian Law and a complete disrespect to the rule of law. Civilians must be spared and must not be utilized in any armed conflict.”
The six civilians were turned over to the Lanuza Municipal Police Station.