Some seven children of a suspected rebel, including five minors, were rescued, while war materiel were recovered when Army soldiers raided their house near a New People’s Army (NPA) lair in an upland village of Carigara, Leyte on Friday.
The Philippine Army reported late Saturday night that the children were those of suspected NPA member Edencio and his wife Nora Dionaldo. One of the children, a 14-year-old girl, is suffering from meningitis.
The children reportedly welcomed the government troops into their house while their parents were not around.
Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros, said the pursuit against suspected NPA fighters who recently abandoned a nearby lair led government troops to the house of the Dionaldo family.
“The soldiers saw in plain view the revolutionary books, sphygmomanometer and binocular. A closer examination of the house exposed the weapons and explosives in a corner,” Oliveros said in a statement.
Soldiers recovered from the house a .38-caliber revolver, an improvised shotgun with six rounds of live ammunition, a fragmentation hand grenade, two pieces of long magazine for M16 rifle, 16 rounds of caliber 7.62mm ammunition, five rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 50 meters of black electrical flat cord used as detonation wire, an improvised dry cell-powered detonator, binocular, sphygmomanometer, four textbooks on revolutionary underground mass movement and bomb-making manual, and identification card of Kabataan party-list group.
Nora arrived at their house late Friday while soldiers were preserving the evidence and waiting for the arrival of the police tasked to investigate the incident.
The Carigara municipal police station took custody of the war materiel, and arrested the mother and 21-year-old son, Ernie on Saturday noon. The eldest son was inside the house when soldiers discovered the materiel.
The police will file on Monday charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives against the couple and their son, Ernie.
Lt. Col. Robert Beatisula, commander of the 93rd Infantry Battalion, turned over the rescued children to Municipal Administrator, lawyer Wenceslao Narido, and the local social welfare and development office, except one, who was left behind to tend to their animals.
The minors were later on left in the custody of their uncle.
Meanwhile, before dawn on Saturday, two groups of mostly young men appeared near Diolano’s house, prompting soldiers to hold them overnight for verification and interview.
The 11 men turned out to be related to a family in Libo village in Carigara town linked to the communist terrorist group.
“Some of them admitted that they were misled to support Anakpawis party-list in the 2019 national and local elections,” Oliveros said.
The military turned them over to the local government on the same day. The village chiefs of Canlampay, Libo and Upper Hiraan received the men.
“Once again, this incident proves the evil practice of the NPA of destroying families as in the case of the Dionaldo children who bore witness to the illegal practices of their father including the bomb-making instruction. Edencio Dionaldo alias Bernie Bates abandoned her 10 children, prompting three of them to work for a living. He stored weapons and explosives in the house without regard to the young kids’ safety,” Oliveros said.
He challenged local officials who “seemed to be playing deaf” to the illegal activities of the NPA in their areas to be more active in countering communist terrorism in their locality.
The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States, the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
SOURCE: PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY