Lumads in Paquibato evacuate after NPA threat

MALAGOS, Davao City – At least 17 families of a lumad tribe in Marilog District, this city, were evacuated after receiving threats from New People’s Army allegedly eyeing the tribe’s village as the site for the forthcoming anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) next month.

Datu Tresio Lumuyok, tribal chieftain of Matigsalog tribe, said residents have abandoned their houses in Purok 26, Sitio Alon, Brgy. Malabog and seek refuge in Brgy. Marilog since November 6. He led his people in search for a safe place after Leoncio Pitao, head of NPAs operating in the hinterlands of Paquibato, threatened and forced them to take part in rallies and demonstrations in protest to the presence of government troops in the area. He added that residents were suspected as military informants scouting the whereabouts of the notorious group after several encounters transpired in the area.

“Pitao said that we are feeding information to soldiers about their presence and that we betrayed their group. Because of that we are scared of going back to our village”, said one of the evacuees, who requested not to be identified for security reasons.

According to Lumuyok, Pitao is planning to make their village the venue for the 44th year of CPP on December 27.

Datu Buaya Ansaud welcomes the evacuees in his village in Sitio Malikongkong as Davao City Social Services and Development Office had been providing for their needs in cooperation with 84th Infantry Battalion.

“We see how the NPAs jeopardize the safety of these families who are living peacefully in the area”, said Lt. Col. Edgar Nigos, commander of 84th IB.

He said that the incident is a wake-up call for everybody to denounce the presence of the rebels in the area instead of the military. “It is our mandate to protect the people and not to harm them. That’s why we would like to encourage everyone specially the government leaders to condemn the presence of the NPAs so that we can all live peacefully”, he said.


“ARMY gives early Christmas gifts to Community Harassed by NPAs”

MACO, Compostela Valley Province – Army’s 71IB and other NGOs conducted stress debriefing and medical and dental mission at Barangay Calabcab, Maco, Compostela Valley today.
A stress debriefing was initiated through the collaboration of Kiwanis Club of Tagum, Therma Marine Incorporated Aboitiz Group of Company, Local Government of Maco and 71st Infantry Battalion. Series of activities were conducted to assess the adverse effects of the violent attack of NPA to the Barangay and to help the residents, especially children, to cope up from the traumatic incident that they have experienced. Pre-Christmas presents to include toys and slippers were given to 101 kids in said community. They had also a free Jollibee meal during their lunch.
On the other hand, there were also free medical and dental services wherein 191 residents benefitted. 43 residents availed of free cleaning and tooth extraction while 148 others had their free medical consultation/check-up and subsequently was given appropriate medicines.
Col Jerry Borja, 71IB Commander said, “These activity will not be successful if there was no cooperation between the stakeholders. We are also thankful that the Barangay Council of Calabcab gave their full support in this activity and realized the importance of cooperation to have peace and development in their Barangay.”
Meanwhile, the restoration to the damaged Barangay Hall, Health Center and Day Care Center in Brgy. Calabcab, Maco, Comval was started weeks after the attack of 60 members of the New People’s Army on October 18 wounding six soldiers and two civilians.
The Army’s Peace and Development Team in coordination with LGU Maco is currently re-building the Barangay Hall and the houses damaged after a grenade that was thrown by NPAs exploded.


Off-Duty soldiers Massacred in Paquibato

MAWAB, Compostela Valley Province – Four members of 60th Infantry Battalion’s Peace and Development Team were massacred by more or less ten members of New People’s Army in Sitio Cinco, Brgy. Mapula, Paquibato District, Davao City.

The four were said to be on board three motorcycles, on civilian attire and unarmed when attacked by NPA fighters 5:30 p.m. yesterday, 10th Infantry Division Spokesperson Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said.

He identified the casualties as Pfc Ahian Vir Dolero , Pfc Marvin Lauronal, Pfc Noel  Sigan whose remains are now in Villa Funeral Homes, Panabo City while Private Marcelo Himaya, who is said to be missing earlier, was found dead in a nearby area and believed to be summarily executed.

“They were on their way back to their detachment after marketing when the incident happened”, Paniza said adding that troops are now on hot pursuit operations to apprehend the perpetrators.


Army officer and 12 others to face court martial over death of mother, sons in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur

MAWAB, Compostela Valley Province – An army officer and 12 others will face general court martial as probe revealed that there was indeed ‘tactical’ lapse into the killing of the wife and two sons of armed bandit leader Daguil Capeon in Kimlawis, Davao del Sur on October 18. 
In a six-page report of the Philippine Army’s Board of Inquiry, headed by its Division Inspector General Col. Fidel Francis Pumihic, 1Lt. Dante Jimenez admitted he failed to assess if it was the criminal group New People’s Army or the group of Capeon sheltering inside the house. 
In his statement, Jimenez said he, along with Cpl. Godio, Cpl. Namla, and Pfc. Gamayot, were 200 meters away from the house. He dispatched Sgt. Murillo, along with Pfc. Lopez, Cpl. Majid, Cpl. Sahali, Cpl. Jadjuli and Cpl. Said, to close in but was fired upon by shooters from the direction of the house prompting them to also return fire. While Sgt. Ballenas, Pfc. Tayamora and Pfc. Julian claimed that they did not fire. Accordingly, there were 43 bullet entry holes on the hut alone but, based on the spot report, only 19 bullets were expended by the troops. However, the result of the investigation did not determine as to whose bullets killed the victims. 
After the incident, one Rifle Grenade, two combat packs with personal belongings, 5.56mm empty shells and two m16 rifle magazines long with 20 rounds of 5.56mm live ammo were recovered in the area believed to be belonging to the group of Capeon. 
“There was a lapse of judgment on the company commander for he failed to direct his men in accordance to the Rules of engagement”, 10th Infantry Division Spokesperson Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said affirming the violation committed. However, he robs off massacre allegations and claimed that it was a legitimate encounter. 
In part six, the report stated that it was a legitimate encounter contrary to claims of groups that there was none. To recall, in his previous interviews, bandit leader Capeon said he was alone several meters away from the house and has denied having fired at pursuing troops which was supported by Marisa Capeon Piang during interviews. However, it was not clarified how and when the latter saw the bandit leader in the area.          
According to Paniza, based on the recommendation of the BOI, Jimenez and 12 others will face a general court martial to be convened by Philippine Army to hear and decide cases for violations of the Article of War 76 (Misbehaviour before the Enemy) of the ROE – particularly rules 4 and 5; the Article of War 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) and the Article of War 97 (Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline).
 Since the operation was quad-size and was initiated within the company commander’s level, it was the responsibility of 1Lt. Jimenez to assess the situation and properly brief his troops about the confronted circumstances”, Paniza said. He also added that the other 12 enlisted personnel are also facing raps in violating the 76th Article of War and the 97th Article of War.
“Though we have yet to wait for the result of the ballistics’ test to know from whose shot really killed Jovy, and the two children, still, we have to promulgate necessary measures to our men who made violations (to ROE)”, Paniza said. 
He also added that an order has been issued for the full internalization of every member of the Armed Forces of the rules of engagement, especially to battalions and units under 10th ID, through series of simulated activities in every trainings to avoid the same incident.