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Army says ‘sorry’ for edited photo

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the Philippine Army’s 9th Infantry Division (9ID) has apologized on Saturday, Dec. 28 for a “manipulated” photo release showing the surrender of the New People’s Army (NPA) members in a ceremony in Masbate City on Thursday, Dec. 26.

Maj. Ricky Aguilar, 9ID public affairs chief, said they failed to check the photos that were sent to them by the 2nd Infantry Battalion based in Masbate.

“In our ardent desire to release timely information, we were not able to double-check the pictures we attached in our press release,” he said in a statement.

The photo that was manipulated, Aguilar said, was not intended to mislead the public but to protect the lives of the former rebels that have surrendered to the government.

“We admit to have committed a mistake though by manipulating the picture for the sole purpose of ensuring the safety of the lives of the rebels that surrendered including their families,” the PAO chief said.

“We apologize for the honest mistake. We are hoping for your understanding,” Aguilar added.

When asked about the event last Thursday, Aguilar said there were about 306 rebels surrenderers in Masbate since October this year.

The event also highlighted the 49 various assault firearms that the NPA surrendered.

The event, where the rebel surrenderers were presented, was part of the program of the government-sponsored indignation rallies in Bicol against the NPA and also marked the 51st founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

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