DAVAO CITY – Amid the resumption of the formal peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front, civilian communities in villages in Davao Oriental province suffer from intensive military operations.

Around 399 families evacuated from a village in Caraga town, Davao Oriental last week as the military launched offensives, including an air strike against alleged  members of the New People’s Army on Friday, July 8.

Capt. Eliseo Marcolino, information officer of the 67th Infantry Battalion told Davao Today that the 399 families came from different villages of Barangay Pichon in Caraga town as early as July 6.

In an earlier interview, 1Lt. Miguel Diorda, of the 67th IB also said a 45-minute armed encounter between the soldiers and the NPA in Sitio Lanipga in Barangay Pichon ensued at around 10:00 am, while they launched an air strike, dropping “an estimate of six rockets”.  Marcolino said the air support arrived at around 11:00 am.

Diorda said the evacuees are now at the command post of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Barangay Poblacion, Caraga.

He said they received information from tribal chieftain Cupertino Banugan “about the NPAs’ plan to attack Sitio Sangab”, a village where there are many members of the anti-communist group of tribesmen.

Grace Curso, a Mandaya council member of the Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organization told Davao Today that at least two women were hurt during the military operation.

Curso identified an elderly Estrella Madanlo who sustained a splinter wound on her knee.

“The splinter was from the AFP’s armament,” Curso said.

But Marcolino denied the reports that Madanlo’s injury was caused by the Army. He said Madanlo was injured because of the NPA’s command detonated explosive in the area.

“According to her narration, she sustained the wounds around 3o minutes after the firefight,” Marcolino said, adding that there was no air support yet during that time.

Another woman fell off a motorcycle as they rush to safety. Curso said the woman sustained a bruise on her left eye.(davaotoday.com)

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