By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The remains of a suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel were recovered last Wednesday by the Philippine Army 15th Infantry Battalion (15IB).
Government forces identified the supposed NPA member as Ricky Pojas, a resident of Sitio Nailan in Candoni’s Barangay Cabia-an.
In a statement provided by 15IB, Pojas was taken down from the mountains by his NPA comrades in Barangay Yao-yao, Cauayan. His remains were then loaded onto a vehicle and abandoned at a funeral home in Kabankalan City.
A subsequent autopsy found Pojas died from disease and starvation.
15IB commander, Lt. Colonel Patricio Tomales, said it is possible constant military operations took a toll on Pojas’ health, which he called “an indication the rebels are encountering hardship in the mountains.”
The 15IB official also said rebels are being fooled by the NPA’s corrupt leadership and urged them come down and surrender.
“It’s time NPA members end their rebellion and I urge them to join in localized peace talks,” Tomales stated.
He added, 15IB is ready to help them reintegrate into society as well as help reuniting them with loved ones./DGB, WDJ