AFP: No interim agreement violated, no soldiers killed in North Cotabato clashes

COTABATO CITY-- Government forces pursuing lawless elements in the mountains of Makilala in North Cotabato have not violated any interim ceasefire agreement, an Army brigade commander said Tuesday.

Colonel Tyne BaAas, 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander said this is contrary to claims by communist sympathizers in North Cotabato that the members of 39th Infantry Battalion attacked areas identified with New Peoples Army in Barangay Biangan, Makilala and was a clear violation of the human rights agreement between the government and the NDF/CPP/NPA.

BaAas told reporters that soldiers belonging to the 39th Infantry Battalion were after four armed men who harassed and threatened Delio Tungcos, a driver of banana firm Santos Land Development Company in Makilala.

BaAas stressed that pursuing lawless elements is a mandate of the Philippine Army to ensure the safety of the Filipino people.

Lt. Colonel Harold Argamosa, 39th IB commander, also laughed off claims by Jay Apiag, spokesperson of militant organization Karapatan, that eight soldiers were killed in the Makilala encounter.

"We have no casualties, those were imaginary reports," Argamosa said in a statement in reaction to a report by a national daily.

He said one male person was found dead in the clash site on Saturday morning, along with three high powered firearms. His relatives claimed he was an NPA member.

Argamosa vowed that they will continue with their mission of peace and development programs in far- flung communities in Makilala and nearby towns in North Cotabato as mandated by the Philippine Army. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency