By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — A 25-year-old charcoal maker in Lagangilang, Abra was taken and held by soldiers for nearly three days.
According to the Abra Human Rights Movement (AHRM), Meymar Alcantara, a charcoal maker, went to a nearby forest of Kayapa village to gather firewood for charcoal on January 30 and only came back home on February 2.
Alcantara sustained bruises on the lower part of his eyes and an “X” laceration mark on his chest.
Irene Timbreza of the AHRM said they tried to invite Alcantara for further interview but they were told by his relatives that he was afraid to talk about what happened to him.
“He was traumatized by what was done to him,” Timbreza added.
The AHRM reported soldiers held four other residents from Kayapa village on January 30. The men were identified as: Ceferino Poclani, Anacleto Tugadi , Jimmy Bageng , and Bonifacio Bagang.
The report said that the men went to the forest of Kayapa to collect honey when they met the military. AHRM added that they were able to go home only at 1:00 PM of February 2. No added details were given.
According to Timbreza, the soldiers in the province have started to hold residents they chance upon after an alleged encounter on January 30 between the military and the New People’s Army (NPA). “They are now suspicious of anyone,” Timbreza said.
The Agustin Begnalen Command (ABC) of the NPA-Abra through an online statement said an encounter occurred between the fighters of the Procopio Tauro Front and troopers of the 41st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Manipit, Kayapa at around 9:00 a.m. on that day.
The NPA command stated they did not suffer any casualties while two soldiers were wounded in the encounter. (Northern Dispatch / Posted by )