NO MORE PEACE TALKS : PSG Ambushed by Suspected NPAs in Cotabato; 1 Killed

Presidential Security Group (PSG) riding a convoy was ambushed early on Wednesday in Barangay Gambudes, in the town of Arakan, Cotabato allegedly by members of the New People's Army.

The convoy consisted of two vans boarded with ten PSG members traveling to Cagayan de Oro.

According to PSG spokesperson Col. Mike Aquino, they have reasons to believe that the rebel group was that of the NPA.


Photo from Jin Sinkara Xiu
Sol. Aquino added that they have encountered these alleged NPA members in a checkpoint that these suspected rebels have set up in the boundary of Arakan and Davao City.

Fifty gunmen were reported to compose the rebel group all wearing military uniforms with the purpose of deceiving the PSG convoy.

"May nakitaan na nagpapanggap sa check point, Task Force Davao pa ang nakalagay. Alam mo naman itong grupo na ito mapagpanggap sila. Noong na-detect ng tropa na 'di sila totoong sundalo, doon nagkaputukan," Col. Aquino told the reporters.

"Nu'ung napansin ng pangalawang sasakyan na hindi sila totoong sundalo, pinaputukan na ng tropa natin hanggang sa nagka-engkwentro na," Col. Aquino sad.

One member of the Citizen Army Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), identified as Benjamin Pandia, was shot dead.

The NPA members eventually withdrew from the firefight.

Pandia was said to have been deceived by the NPA and introduced himself as a member of the CAFGU.

Other five members of the PSG have been wounded. Three of them will be flown to Davao city to be treated.

Major Ezra Balatey, public information officer of the Philippine Army, said that two of the wounded PSGs were evacuated to a hospital in Bukidnon, north of Arakan.

In an interview with ANC on Wednesday noon, North Cotabato police provincial director, Sr. Supt. Emmanuel Peralta said he suspects that the ambush was really planned by the NPA. He added that government forces will further intensify their operations against the said rebel group.

"The NPAs when they conduct roadblock or checkpoint, they are spotting any government vehicle to ambush and I believe this is what happened this early morning," Sr. Supt. Peralta said.

Photo from ABS-CBN News
PSG spokesperson also added what happened was an encounter as it had been planned, not just a mere ambush.

Col. Aquino assured the residents of the place that the ambush was an isolated case. He added that the government forces are already pursuing the NPA gunmen.

The encounter came after President Duterte ordered that the government shall not resume formal peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines unless its rebel members stop attacking members of the government force in Mindanao.

The said ambush came just days after the Philippine National Police released intelligence reports that the NPA is suspected to be planning an attack in Davao region.

This was not the first alleged attack of the NPA members against government troops. It can be remembered that in November 2016, a convoy of PSG was also attacked by armed men in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur.

Seven members of the PSG and two military troops were wounded that time from the blast of a suspected improvised explosive device. The attackers also opened fire and engaged in a firefight.

Sources: ABS-CBN News & CNN