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Slain ‘rebel,’ 2 others test positive for COVID-19

By Michael Punongbayan / The Philippine Star

MANILA — The suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla, who was killed in a series of encounters in Bukidnon last week, and his two companions tested positive for COVID-19, the military reported yesterday.

The report prompted a ranking military official to urge rebels to lay down their arms and have themselves vaccinated.

Vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19 Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr. committed to allocate vaccines for NPA surrenderees, according to Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., chief of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

Brawner said the report showed that the rebels were not spared from COVID and may even be spreading the disease.

“Among those who tested positive were the fatality, the wounded rebel who needed to undergo surgery, and the rescued minor combatant,” Brawner told The STAR.

He said guerrillas who would want to be vaccinated should first surrender and return to the fold of the law.

Brawner said he spoke with Galvez on Sunday to ask if former NPA rebels could be given vaccines.

He said Galvez approved the request and asked how many doses would be needed for the surrenderees.



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