By DANIEL IBARRA
Spokesperson, Compostela Valley-Davao Gulf Subregional Command
NPA Southern Mindanao
There is no truth to the preposterous claim made by Eastern Mindanao Command Commander Lt. Gen. Rainier G. Cruz III that “in their Bayanihan, they have prevailed against the NPA”, by killing four New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas last week in Maco town, Compostela Valley. The enemy has pursued its atrocious military operations in separate incidents of strafing and bombing that left a civilian dead, the detention of three others, and the dislocation of hundreds more in Maragusan and Maco towns since 18 November up to 6 December.
While hiding its savage deeds against the masses, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is engaging in a futile attempt to reverse the real score in the battlefield. In contrast to the AFP’s indiscriminate aerial bombing and strafing that did not distinguish combatants from civilians, the NPA triggered command-detonated explosives, and harassed and ambushed legitimate targets from enemy units in four separate punitive actions over the last three weeks. The AFP suffered a total of 34 casualties, with 20 killed and 14 wounded after NPA units under the Compostela Valley-Davao Gulf Subregional Command launched a series of tactical offensives meant to punish the fascist 71st and 66th Infantry Battalions, and the Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC) all under the 10th Infantry Division, Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP.
A recap of the series of events in the last few weeks showed how the AFP, ironically, prevailed not over the NPA but over unarmed peasants and poor residents:
- On 18 November, at 6:30 am, the 66th Infantry Battalion of the AFP rained bombs over the villages of Barangay (village) Mahayahay, Maragusan town, Compostela Valley; for one whole day, the enemy strafed and poured bullets in reconnaissance by fire against peasant farms, forcing residents to evacuate.
- On 21 November at 7:00 am, the 66th Infantry Battalion bombed villages of Sitio Camuso, Barangay Parasanun. At about 9:00 am, the NPA’s 6th Pulang Bagani Company and the Rhyme Petalcorin Command Front 27 Operations Command encountered with troops belonging to the 71st Infantry Battalion in North Davao, Barangay New Leyte, Maco; three soldiers were killed and three were wounded. Around 10:30 am, the military bombed communities of North Davao and Sitio Bunlang, using a 105mm howitzer. At 4:00 pm, two MG-520 helicopters rained bombs in North Davao and in Masara lines, Maco town. When the enemy was resting at their camp in Barangay Parasanun at 11:00 pm, the NPA triggered a command-detonated explosive that killed five and wounded six.
- On 23 November, at 8:00 am, the NPA harassed the camp of the 71st Infantry Battalion Alpha Company, wounding three of its troops. At around 10:00 am, two MG-520 helicopters bombed the farms of Barangays Elizalde, Teresa, and New Barili, in Maco.
- On 25 November, at 9:00 pm, the NPA triggered a command-detonated explosive at Sitio Camuso, Barangay Parasanun, killing four elements of the 66th Infantry Battalion.
- On 28 November, the NPA harassed the 71st Infantry Battalion troops in Sitio Biokadan, Barangay Teresa, killing one soldier. At 9:00 am, the military forced residents of Biokadan and Sitio Mahayahay, Barangay Teresa to evacuate.
- On 4 December, at 8:00 am, the NPA’s 6th Pulang Bagani Company and the Rhyme Petalcorin Command Front 27 Operations Command ambushed the 71st Infantry Battalion in Sitio Lim-aw, Barangay Teresa that killed seven and wounded five soldiers. At 9:30 am, the enemy bombed the villages of Sitio Lim-aw and Sitio Gakub, using a 105mm howitzer and dislocating the peasant communities in the process.
- On 6 December, at 10:00 am, the 1001st Division Reconnaisance Company and the 71st Infantry Battalion raided villages of Sitio Binagyuhan, Barangay Malamudao, in Maco town. An hour later, MG-520 helicopters bombed the villages of Sitio Binagyuhan and Sitio Barabay in Barangay Malamudao; and Sitio San Vicente of Barangay New Barili. The military shot to death Pedro Tinga, a civilian, and arrested three others: Dodong Camporemundo, Orong Gabriel and Abla Bakud. The victims were all residents of Purok 2, Barangay Malamudao.
Not content with disinformation by erroneously labeling the victims as NPA guerillas, the AFP also connived with Malamudao Barangay Captain Edgar Reyabonansa to gag the victim’s family and prevent them from pursuing charges against the enemy.
Indeed, the blatant cover-up and a host of human rights abuses in the last few weeks manifested the AFP’s character as harbinger of injustice and implementer of the hideous policy of neutralization under Oplan Bayanihan. The masses can only rely in the revolutionary justice, time and again dispensed by the NPA, through its punitive actions against legitimate targets in the AFP and the US-Aquino regime.