DOH polio team waylaid by NPA rebels in Agusan del Norte
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Health workers conducting an anti-polio vaccination in the hinterlands of Agusan del Norte were waylaid by suspected New People’s Army rebels, the military said.
Colonel Maurito Licudine, commander of the Army 402 Infantry Brigade, said four armed members of suspected New People’s Army tried to flag down a gray-colored Toyota Innova with nurses in Sitio Zapanta, Barangay Kalipayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte last Nov. 27.
Licudine said the nurses , who worked for the Kitcharao town health office, had just come from an all-day polio vaccination in Zapanta Valley, a major conflict area of the government and New People’s Army.
“The driver told us he did not stop the car when he saw the four armed rebels on the middle of the road trying to stop them,” Licudine said.
In retaliation, Licudine said the rebels fired at the speeding Innova, hitting its windshield.
Licudine said the nurses identified as Ingrid Ramos Archinue, head nurse of the Kitcharao health office; midwife Jenifer Morales Veterbo; and the unnamed driver were not hurt.
He said the Innova was traveling with a multicab full of volunteers after they ended their polio vaccination in Sitio Zapanta.
Licudine said the police are now investigating the incident.
Meanwhile, Licudine said they were offering Department of Health workers in Caraga some military escort if they would go to conflict areas like the Zapanta Valley.
Agusan del Norte is in Caraga Region in Mindanao. /dbs
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