By MAGNO UDYAW
Spokesperson, Leonardo Pacsi Command
NPA Mountain Province Provincial Operations Command
The Leonardo Pacsi Command, New People’s Army Mountain Province, again launched a successful attack against the operating troops of the 50th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (IBPA) in the afternoon of 28 November 2013. The light artillery troops stationed with two Howitzer cannons at Lake Danum, between Sagada and Besao, Mountain Province, were fired at by a sniping team of the NPA Leonardo Pacsi Command.
This offensive was carried out to drive out the fascist forces and to protect the people of the Mountain Province and Abra from the indiscriminate bombings which the Philippine Army is fond of doing as part of their desperate moves against the New People’s Army. Sagada residents were victims of such bombings last month, as in the past when it was the people of Tubo, Abra, who suffered such traumatic experience.
One element of the Philippine Army was seriously wounded in the sniping attack conducted by the NPA LPC while other elements incurred injuries as well. There were no casualties on the side of the NPA. Earlier on 16 and 17 November, NPA units also inflicted two attacks on the 50th IBPA combat troops somewhere in Baclingayan, Tubo, Abra. Three Philippine Army soldiers were wounded while there were no casualties on the side of the NPA.
Widescale combat operations of the joint forces of the 50th IBPA and Regional Police Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the Philippine National Police of the Cordillera Administrative Region (PNP-CAR) have been escalating since 13 November. At the same time, the number of human rights violations has also increased.
Most condemnable is the irresponsible shooting of two residents of Bangaan, Sagada, who were mining in the area of Baclingayan, Tubo. After being shot by the fascist forces, the two civilians were held hostage with their hands tied. Another youth was held hostage in Belwang, Sadangga. Several residents, including two minors and a foreign national, were traumatized by the military pointing their guns at them while driving them away from their farms and workplaces.
The continuing militarization of Sagada, Besao, Sadangga and Bontoc since September of this year have been causing economic dislocation as the people have been prevented from tending to their farms, gardens, mines, hunting grounds and irrigation systems.
The Leonardo Pacsi Command-NPA, the entire revolutionary movement and the peoples of the Cordillera condemn the blatant disregard and violations of the socio-economic and political rights of individuals and communities. We hold accountable the commanding officer of the 50th IBPA Lt. Col. Richard Sibayan and the RPSB-CAR Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong, as well as their superiors in the 503rd Brigade and 5th Infantry Division.
Moreover, we condemn the continuing military operations to suppress the struggle of the Cordillerans against the plunderous onslaught of multinational large-scale mining and energy corporations, in connivance with compradors and bureaucrats in the Aquino government, who are in turn being served by the mercenaries in the AFP and PNP. In order to ram through their economic greed and political tyranny, they are employing all means including deception, dirty maneuverings, and militarization, that victimizes the same people whom they have sworn to serve.
All units of the NPA, along with the numerous units of the people’s militia in Mountain Province, will continue these attacks on reactionary troops. All members of the revolutionary movement will surely defeat the onslaught of militarization under the guise of Oplan Bayanihan.
We call on the people to mobilize and drive away the military presence in Lake Danum, Kin-iway in Besao; Guinaang in Bontoc; Abew in Sadanga; and in the numerous paramilitary CAA detachments spread all over the ten municipalities of Mountain Province.
We call on the town mayors and other officials of local government units to revoke the duplitious Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) they have signed with the 50th IBPA, as such an agreement only serves as license for the military and police to conduct military operations and disregard civilian authority with impunity.
Stop the widespread military operations in Mountain Province and Abra!
Oppose the building of military fortifications in Lake Danum and Kin-iway!
Punish the human rights violators in the 50th IBPA and RPSB!
Advance the struggle of the national minorities for the right to self-determination! Fetad!