By Jose Percival Estocada, Jr. Command
Six were killed and not less than three were wounded from the troops of the 61st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army in two succeeding ambushes launched by the units of the New People’s Army under the Jose Percival Estocada, Jr. Command, Central Panay in the town of Tapaz, Capiz on 7 and 9 October 2013.
The first ambush happened along Panay River in the boundaries of Barangays (villages) Nawayan and Tacayan around 06:45am, while a 15-man unit of the Alpha Company were passing the banks of the river. In the first burst of fire, seven fascist soldiers were immediately hit and fell into the Panay River with their firearms. Six of them died.
The second ambush happened in Sitio Malangsa, Barangay Abangay, past 1:00 in the afternoon, while the troops of the Bravo Company were marching to reinforce. Two fascist troops were wounded.
The pretentions of the 61st Infantry Battalion that they are protectors of human rights were laid bare when they strafed the houses of the Tumanduk people in Barangay Nayawan that killed Pastor Mirasol and wounded Rolando Diaz, Sr., both farmers. They also beat up Dario Gilbaliga, a pastor, and Ered Gilbaliga, an old man, and also a barangay official from Abangay, accusing them of being part of the unit that conducted the ambush.
Henry Diaz, of Nayawan, was also beaten while on the way home after accompanying his child to school in the adjacent barangay of Tacayan a few days after the incident.
Out of shame, Maj. Rey Tiongson, spokesperson of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, denied that they have many casualties and even claimed that Pastor Mirasol and Rolando Diaz, Sr. were members of the NPA. It may be recalled that a few months back, the officials of 3rd Infantry Division proudly declared that the NPA in Central Panay is weakening because of many of its members has surrendered and are losing the support of the masses.
These two successful ambushes launched by the Red fighters is their response to the strong opposition of the Tumanduk people to the construction of two mega dams in the rivers of Jalaur and Panay, and to exact justice for the many crimes and violations of human rights of the 61st Infantry Battalion.