Regional Political Department
NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command
In a punitive action against the protector of environmentally-destructive capitalist incursions, Red fighters hit one of the elements of the 84th Infantry Battalion in a sniping operation in Sitio Tabak, Barangay (village) Tawan-tawan, Baguio district, Davao City, on 22 January at 2:00 pm. The 84th Infantry Battalion withdrew two of its platoons and used as human shield Tabak’s tribal leader Datu Sito Saman.
The NPA offensive is only one of the many region-wide punitive actions in the last three days as the revolutionary forces escalate the campaign to protect the environment and against its plunderers.
The 84th IB has been raring to start full-scale offensives against the New People’s Army’s Guerilla Front 54 Operations Command. During the temporary ceasefire on 1 January, a platoon of soldiers forced the evacuation of poor, hungry residents in the village of Barangay Tambobong. Two days later, another two truckloads of soldiers and an anti-personnel carrier arrived while seven days later, the fascist troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were augmented with two more truckloads.
On 20 January, the fascist troops sneaked in at an NPA temporary storage area in Barangay Tawan-tawan and stole nine sacks of rice. They forced eight residents in sitio Tabak to haul off the stolen goods to the far-flung Barangay Carmen.
Full-scale offensive military operations by some 15 truckloads of 84th IB-10th Infantry Division AFP troops scoured other peasant villages of Carmen, Manuel Guianga, Tamayong and Cadalian, all in Baguio district on 14 January, or prior to the lifting of the ceasefire between the government of the Repulic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The counter-revolutionary AFP operations were meant to protect the large banana and pineapple plantations in Baguio district that have wrecked Davao’s watersheds and have aggravated the impact of heavy flooding in the low-lying villages of Davao city since last weekend.
Forests of Baguio district, along with Marilog and Calinan districts, were shaved off and laid bare in the yesteryears by the logging concessions of Alcantara and Sons, real estate magnate Consunji who owns the Sodaco, the Maguindanao Timber Corp owned by the Robillos, and the concessions of Luis Santos and Yuheco.
The renewed exploitation of agricultural lands in Baguio district included the boundary of the Mt. Apo protected watershed area, and the important water tributaries like the Davao river, Talomo river, Panigan river, Tamugan river and Suwawan river.
The rapid commercial crop expansion in the restricted environmentally critical water and watershed areas is the culprit of the heavy flooding in Davao’s low-lying plains. This is exacerbated with the hydroelectric dam of Aboitiz-owned Hedcor in the Tamugan-Panigan river and the MRC Allied Mining owned by Lucio Tan in the Marilog district.
Paving the way for the rapid capitalist exploitation of peasant hinterland villages of Davao city are the military operations of the 84th IB and tribal opportunist leaders or dealers like Joel Unad and the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples or NCIP that sell off large tracts of forestal areas for pseudo-reforestation projects. The reforestation scheme is merely a front for commercial logging abetted by checkpoints put up by the 84th IB. Recently, some 620 hectares have been sold in Brgy. Tawan-tawan, the nucleus of 84th IB operations.
It is the height of hypocrisy on the part of the AFP to project itself as defenders of typhoon Pablo victims and saviors of flood victims, when on the sly and in the main, it protects the destroyers of environment and oppressors of the people. Its Oplan Bayanihan Peace and Development Program act as bodyguards and goons of the environmental plunderers of Davao city’s poor third congressional district area where the city’s remaining watershed areas are found.
(Sgd.) Simon Santiago
NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command