The claim of Meggie Nolasco of Salugpungan Community Learning Center that soldiers of 71st Infantry Battalion abducted a certain Imelda Hayahay in exchange of P 5,000.00 or the surrender of her daughter Jeany Rose Hayahay is a malicious, illogical and cheap gimmick to malign the efforts of the military in peace and development.
Abduction is a criminal offense more so that the abductors are asking for a ransom for the release of the abducted person. Such a practice is not being tolerated in the military service. Any military person who is into the said practice is subjected not only in the military justice system but also to the criminal justice system. In an initial investigation’ the Purok Chairman where Imelda reside and some members of the community rebut the claim that there were soldiers and military vehicle in the area when she was abducted. Hence, we challenge Ms. Nolasco to file the necessary complaint in the proper forum. We also would like to inform Ms. Nolasco that our doors are open to any third-party/interagency investigation to ferret out the truth about her disappearance. At the moment, our unit will be in coordination with the Philippine National Police and the Local Government Unit of Mabini, Compostela Valley to locate Imelda Hayahay.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces will continue with its effort to assist those who wanted to go back to the folds of the law and wanted to avail of the programs of the government in their path to transformation. It can be remembered that the snowball of surrenders since January 1, 2018, to November 5, 2018, has already surged to 743 NPA Regulars, 1,019 Members of Militiang Bayan and withdrawal of support of 7,595 members of the underground mass organizations which were not made through force and coercion but were brought about by the peace efforts and initiatives of the different local government units in the different communities in Eastern Mindanao. These were also backed up by convergence programs of different National Government Agencies addressing socio-economic issues in the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantage Areas.
On the claim that the soldiers served a notice of closure of schools in Talaingod, Davao Del Norte, the Department of Education has the regulatory function to close schools and not within the military purview. Eastern Mindanao Command believes in the importance of education as part of building blocks of peace particularly IP Education. In fact, some of its subordinate units partner with philanthropic organizations and other government agencies in building schools in different communities, latest of which is the inter-agency “Build Lumad Schools” programs in Talaingod, Davao Del Norte being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, LGU of Talaingod, BLGU of Sto Niño, Talaingod, 56th Infantry Battalion, and 52nd Engineering Brigade, Philippine Army.
LTC EZRA L BALAGTEY (INF) PA
Eastern Mindanao Command
Contact # 09175080099