Army slams ‘fake news’ on Pangasinan encounter


FORT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija — The Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division (7ID) deplored on Friday the proliferation of “fake news” in connection with the recent encounter between its troops and suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in San Nicolas, Pangasinan.

1Lt. Catherine Hapin, chief of the 7ID Kaugnay public information office (PIO), said that “malicious information and fake news circulated though text messages and social media” have caused alarm to some residents.

Hapin was referring to reports that the rebels have managed to abduct some local chief executives after an encounter between the elements of the Army’s 3rd Maneuver Company of the Regional Public Safety Battalion 1 (RPSB1) and undetermined number of NPA rebels in the area of San Nicolas Pangasinan, in Camps 3 and 4, and along the boundaries of Sta. Maria and Barangay Malico, all of San Nicolas.

A soldier was killed in action while scores of rebels were believed to have died in the firefight as the 84th Infantry Battalion immediately extended reinforcement and conducted pursuit operations. All six district police stations of Pangasinan were placed under full alert status due to the ongoing operations.

Hapin said reports on the abduction of mayors of certain municipalities in Pangasinan “are false and purely hearsay”.

“The situation has been contained and no enemy harassment has taken place in any of the barangays and towns of the province,” Hapin said.

She noted that the Office of the Municipal Mayor of San Nicolas has issued an official statement regarding this matter, with a call to counter violent extremism and strongly condemning the spreading of fake news that causes horrendous trauma not only to the people in the municipality, but also to their loved ones in far places.

Major General Angelito M. De Leon, Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, was “determined to see an end to the deplorable acts of the enemy and has ordered an intensified operations of troops to ensure that the enemy will never threaten the peace in Pangasinan,” she said. Marilyn Espiritu-Galang/