DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A soldier belonging to the 28th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army assigned in Davao Oriental was captured by the New People’s Army last June 10.
In a statement to the media on Monday, Roel Agustin II, spokesperson of the ComVal-Davao East Coast Sub-Regional Command of the NPA in Southern Mindanao identified the soldier as Private First Class Johannes Dolor Parreño, Serial No. 890065.
Parreño was captured while an NPA unit was mounting a checkpoint in Sitio Mampising, Barangay Taguibo in Mati City at around 5:30 in the afternoon of June 10.
A caliber .45 pistol was seized from the captured soldier, Agustin said, adding that Parreño has been assigned in Davao Oriental since 2012 and has taken part in various combat operations of the army in the area, particularly in the towns of Banay-Banay, Pantukan and Mati City.
The NPAs now considers Parreño a Prisoner of War.
“POW Parreño is under investigation for his possible involvement in anti-people crimes perpetrated by the 28th IB and counter-revolutionary activities,” the statement said.
Agustin also accused 28th IB and the 67th IB of turning civilian communities in the area into military encampments and barracks.
The continuing military encampments, Agustin added, have posed a real danger to the lives and properties of the lumad residents and peasants in the area.
Since the ascension of President Rodrigo Duterte into power and the imposition of martial law, Agustin said, encampments of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the middle of civilian communities have steadily increased.
“Not only have these units of the AFP insisted on putting up detachments in the middle of civilian population, they have also saturated other barrios with their deceptively-named ‘peace and development teams,’ a sham term for their psywar operations against Lumad and peasants, which have always resulted in killings, physical and verbal abuse, fake surrender and many other human rights violations,” he pointed out.
He also cited cases of establishing military encampments in the various towns of Davao Oriental and Lingig, Surigao del Sur.
Agustin said three military detachments were established by the AFP in Barangay Malibago in Cateel, Davao Oriental and a section of 67th IB soldiers encamped in a sitio of the same barangay who are conducting civic-military operations.
Malibago is inhabited by less than 2,000 residents, mostly belonging to the Mandaya tribe, he added.
“Mandaya residents are not surprised by the oversaturation of enemy troops in Malibago since illegal logging in the barangay has always been one of the racketeering ventures of the 67th IB. Five other barangays in Cateel have detachments while at least three villages are being terrorized by peace and development teams of the 67th IB,” Agustin further claimed.
Agustin also criticized the military for utilizing as detachments a gymnasium and housing units intended for the Pablo victims in Davao Oriental and in the province of Surigao del Sur.
Soldiers are also threatening farmers as well as small-scale miners in the area, he added.
“It is becoming clearer and clearer that the martial law being implemented in Mindanao is nothing but an all-out offensive against civilians to ensure their non-resistance in the face of Duterte’s dictatorship and devastation of the Filipino people’s socio-economic lives. It is, likewise, being used by fascist troops of the AFP to lend excuse and credence to their corrupt practice of extortion and other money-making activities in their areas of jurisdiction,” Agustin said.
He added that the lumad and peasant sectors in Davao Oriental continue to persist and fight back, especially by joining the revolutionary armed struggle.
“NPA units in Davao Oriental are being beefed up following the atrocities committed by the 67th and the 28th IB, with Duterte’s anti-people programs as the unwitting motivator,” Agustin said. (davaotoday.com)