DAVAO CITY – The New People’s Army on Sunday said the clash between a team of the NPA and two indigenous people’s (IP) who they said are “both members of Bolo Battalion in Sitio Tandacul, Barangay Lilingayon, Valencia City” was “unintentional”.
Previous news reports have quoted a tribal leader who is an uncle of the two, Datu Uba Lucbay Bayawon as saying the Licanay brothers refused being recruited by the NPAs “because they did not want to take up arms and fight the government.”
The bodies of the two were reportedly recovered bearing torture marks in a forested area in Sitio Naisic in Barangay Lilingayon.
In a statement Mamerto Bagani, spokesperson of the NPA’s Mt. Kitanglad Sub-regional Operational Command said brothers Reymund and Roy Licanay of the Talaandig tribe “died in an encounter” last September 13.
“From the NPA team’s report, they met these brothers in the forested portion above Tandakol-Mintolod at around 8:00 in the morning. After they crossed paths and from a few steps after they moved to opposite directions, the Bolo Batallion members fired their short firearm. The NPA team immediately returned fire,” he said.
“Contrary to media statements of Junie Licanay, the father of those two who died, they had not suffered laceration and were not stripped of their clothes,” Bagani said.
He said the NPAs “strictly adheres to the international rules of war and the (Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and the Internaional Humanitarian Law) which we have proven for a long time now.”
“It is unsurprising if Junie Licanay’s version tends to malign the NPA because it is public knowledge to the locals that he is serving as an agent to 8th IB for years now, an infamous criminal and accountable for numerous instances of thievery which greatly perturbs the community,” Bagani said.(davaotoday.com)