By RIGOBERTO SANCHEZ
Spokesperson, Merardo Arce Command
NPA Southern Mindanao
Six elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were killed and 16 others were wounded in two separate ambushes by the New People’s Army Red fighters 18 January in Kitaotao, Bukidnon. The inter-front operations against the 23rd Infantry Battalion and the 8th Infantry Battalion, which was directed by the NPA’s Regional Operations Command, was aimed at responding to the local peasants’ clamor against the atrocious military combat operations.
At about 6 AM in Barangay (village) Sinuda, Kitaotao town, a platoon of the Front Guerilla Unit of NPA Guerilla Front 55 and 56 ambushed a private vehicle bearing members of the 23rd IB. In that ambush, two AFP troops were killed while four were wounded. Three hours later, in Kitaotao’s Barangay Palakapaw, a commando team belonging to the NPA’s Guerilla Front 53 ambushed a convoy of 8th IB troops aboard a 6×6 truck and an amphibian. The NPA set off a command-detonated explosive which blasted the 6×6 truck, killing four AFP troops and wounding 12 others.
Along the Davao-Bukidnon national highway, a roadblock was set up until 2 PM, as air support and reinforcement comprising of two Huey helicopters, two bomber helicopters and two bomber planes came. Reinforcing AFP troops also made sure to hide the fatalities, a standard operating procedure for the fascist troops as it downplays casualties in the field.
The successful military action by the Red fighters contradicts earlier claims by Major Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, chief of the 10th Infantry Division’s Civil Military Operation Battalion, who bragged about growing NPA losses. Obligado has estimated a total of 316 rebels neutralized in 2011, a lie in the face of forced surrenders of civilians and former NPA guerillas.
The 10th ID-Eastern Mindanao Command is daydreaming when it crows over its supposed accomplishments. For over a year, it tries to change skin through the deceptive Oplan Bayanihan to win over civilians and chase off Red fighters. And for over a year, it fails miserably, again and again, to shed off its fascist fangs and to sway the masses to ignore the exploitation, landgrabbing and the human rights abuses.