DAVAO CITY – The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) condemned the atrocity perpetrated by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in a remote village in Paquibato District here on Wednesday.
Lawyer Geroncio Aguio, NCIP regional director, denounced on Saturday the violence considering the present health crisis the country is facing.
The 1003rd Infantry Brigade (1003rd IBde) reported that a firefight broke out when troops belonging to the 16 Infantry Battalion (16IB) encountered an undetermined number of NPA fighters under Guerrilla Front 55 in Sitio Taloytoy, Barangay Malabog, Paquibato District.
Two soldiers were slightly wounded during the encounter.
Based on the report, the communist guerrillas had intended to disrupt the distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) assistance in the area.
“This only proves that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA does not heed to the call of the President for a ceasefire nor have they used their upright conscience in this pandemic that we faced now,” Aguio said.
He pointed out that the attack came despite the reciprocal ceasefire declared by the CPP-NPA-NDF on March 29, days after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a ceasefire with the rebel group so that government forces could focus on helping health workers contain Covid-19.
Aguio also added that at the height of distress and insecurity brought by the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the CPP–NPA once again advanced their selfish ends and “unmasked their treacherous character instead of helping to pacify and relieve our peoples’ worries and our efforts to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“This has effected more distress to our already frightened people because until now they cannot go back to their respective houses for security reasons and fear over NPA sightings.
That amidst our war against an unseen enemy, our Ata Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs)/IPs are in the battle cry of peace and unity — calling for the armed communist rebels to stop threatening the communities for their own selfish ends,” he added.
Aguio also thanked the 16IB for their efforts in safeguarding the lives of the Ata ICCs/IPs and in support to “win the peace” in order to help the Filipino nation create an environment conducive for sustainable development and just and lasting peace.
“The NCIP, with the strong support of its partner security forces and ICC/IP, vowed to continue its relentless efforts to protect the communities from this lawless group while ensuring the needs of the people amidst the pandemic,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Z. Duterte also denounced the said attack of the NPA, saying the group only cared about themselves and only think about extortion.
In a radio interview on Saturday, she reminded not only the Dabawenyos but the general public as well, not to support the NPA because they only sow terror in the country unmindful of the health crisis the people are facing.
“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, this group continues to create chaos in our communities. I ask everyone, please stop supporting these communist group in any way whether financial, moral and psychological,” she said.
Duterte added that the group’s ideology in protecting the poor is a lie.
“What’s real is that, they wanted the people to starve and all they think about is their organization and care about on how to extort money,” she added.
The CPP-NPA-NDF is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)