Friday, December 14, 2012

Soldier’s family escapes Pablo but falls prey to NPA bandits

Lito Mansaluon shared to me his unforgettable experience during my visit in Davao City on December 11, 2012. His 12 year old daughter (left) and 14 year old niece (right) were abducted by the NPA rebels in a hinterland village in Kapalong, Davao del Norte on December 9, 2012. (10th CMO Bn photo)


FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – After the devastation brought about by typhoon Pablo, another tragedy befell Army Private First Class Lito Mansaluon, a tragic event that became a dark chapter in his life as a soldier.

Masaluon, 44, is the Assistant Patrol Base Commander of Kimataan Patrol Base under the 72nd Infantry Battalion, 10thInfantry Division.

A member of the Ata tribe, he is a former NPA rebel who surrendered to the government and later on joined the Philippine Army.

At about 9 a.m. on December 9, Masaluon was on his way back to his camp on board a motorcycle with two minors when he spotted heavily armed NPA rebels blocking the narrow pathway near Gupitan village, Kapalong town in Davao del Norte.

“I was with my 12-year old daughter, 14-year old niece and another friend during that time. We were transporting a sack of rice for our food provisions inside camp when the incident happened,” said Mansaluon.

Alarmed by the presence of  NPA rebels, he was already calculating his chances to survive.

“As a former rebel, I knew the identities of some of the rebels. I am also aware that they will kill me if they will recognize me,” he said.

Aware of the harm that might be brought upon his companions especially his daughter; he decided to leave them for their own safety.

He brought the motorcycle to a screeching halt and ran away, leaving behind his stunned family members.

However, before he could get away, two of the rebels chased him while firing indiscriminately at his direction.

Amidst the whizzing bullets, he was able to seek for cover. When opportunity struck, he fought back, killing one rebel and wounding another.

Again, he escaped and disappeared in the bushes. His companions were apprehended and were held against their will.

“I was able to ask help from a friend who later disclosed that my family members were being held hostage by the NPA rebels.  I reported the incident to my superiors,” he added.

Children in captivity

In her account Ashley (not her real name), the 14-year old niece of Mansaluon, said that the leader of Front 34, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, refused to release them because his father killed one of their members.

While in captivity, she recognized one of the female members of the group to be their former neighbor who left their village a few years before.

“She kept looking at me as if she is trying to tell me something. I felt that she wanted to protect me,” Ashley said.

All throughout her ordeal, she was trembling in fear trying to understand why they had to be detained against their will.

Through the efforts of the village chieftain who negotiated for their release, they were finally freed at about 6 p.m. on that day.

Escaping Pablo’s wrath

Masaluon’s family was thankful that despite losing their house and other properties to typhoon Pablo, they survived the heavy flooding.

With his home swept away by the raging floodwaters, the family took temporary shelter at the detachment.

“I cannot leave them alone with no roof under their heads; I also have a duty to perform at the detachment, especially during this time of disaster relief and rescue operations. In order to look after my family without compromising my duties as a soldier, my family moved in with me at the detachment,” said Masaluon.

Mansaluon and his men are also directed to help in the ongoing disaster response operations in the areas devastated by the typhoon ‘Pablo’.

NPAs disrespect for human rights

The NPA's series of attacks against non-combatants like young children are punishable under Republic Act 9851 or An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Organizing Jurisdiction, Designating Special Courts, and for Related Purposes.

Under Chapter III, Section 4(b) of said Act, “1) violence to life and person, in particular willful killings, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; 2) committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment; 3) taking of hostages; and 4) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable,” are considered war crimes and is punishable under this law.

It is also a violation to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) that was signed by both the GRP and the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Just last month, three unarmed soldiers onboard three motorcycles on their way back to camp were ambushed by more or less 10 NPA rebels in Brgy. Mapula, Paquibato District . Three of the soldiers died instantly, while the other one was dragged by the bandits, and shot at close range. 

It can also be recalled that 48 residents, 18 of them children, were wounded when NPA rebels lobbed a grenade at a local circus show in the hinterland village of Paquibato District, Davao City last September 1.



  1. The real color of th e communists revealed.No one from Davao region can be dictated of their true identity and interests,they r called rebels,criminals,terrorists and so on by d pipol in Mindanao.

  2. I love your blog. we both in the same service of the Philippine gov't. I am a police officer and i find your blog helpful and informative. Long live Ranger Cabunzky!

  3. i read this when my retired father told me about it on a Journal tabloid newspaper a while back

  4. Thank you Jun Scout!

    Best regards! :-)