By TIPON GIL-AYAB
Spokesperson, NPA Kalinga (Lejo Cawilan Command)
Punishment for encroaching on ancestral lands and perpetration of Oplan Bayanihan
On 3 February 2012, a team of the New People’s Army conducted harassment operations against the detachment of 77th Infantry Battalion (Philippine Army) in Cagaluan Gate, Pasil, Kalinga. At 4:45 pm, the team opened fire on troopers inside the said detachment, wounding two regulars of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and one member of the paramilitary Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).
Cagaluan Gate is strategically located along the Abra-Kalinga Road, and at the crossroads of 7 of the 8 municipalities of Kalinga. Military detachments were ever-present in the area due to its strategic location. However, it has gained notoriety, as hold-ups and murder were common occurrence in the past, despite or due to the presence of military and para-military forces in the said area.
Recently, the detachment has been under protest from the people of nearby barangays (villages). No amount of assurance can convince them that soldiers stationed in the detachment will not commit similar atrocities in the future.
In particular, the people of Tanglag can never forget the abduction and killing of Ama Daniel Ngayaan, a tribal leader and respected peace pact holder, by CPLA bandits (so-called Cordillera People’s Liberation Army) stationed in Cagaluan gate in 1986.
The detachment is key to the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan in the various municipalities of Kalinga, as it serves as drop and security zone for operating troops of the AFP. The continued militarization of Kalinga, despite being declared “Insurgent-free”, is due to the imposition of mining, geothermal and dam projects in the province.
The Lejo Cawilan Command will do its utmost efforts in frustrating Oplan Bayanihan (US-Aquino regime’s anti-insurgency program), and help in the people’s struggles against anti-people monopoly capitalist projects, disguised as development projects.