DAVAO CITY—The New People’s Army (NPA) announced Sunday they are intensifying their total log ban campaign in Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte and Agusan del Sur, starting with the capture of a “protector” of big loggers—a soldier belonging to the 72nd Infantry Battalion.
In a press statement sent to media outfits Sunday, Ka Aris Francisco, Spokesperson of NPA- Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command said that Sergeant Bucio Curay was taken in the village of Andap in Compostela Valley’s Laak town on April 4 and declared him a “prisoner of war.”
Senior Supt. Camilo Cascolan, chief of the Compostela Valley Provincial Police reportedly said 12 NPA guerrillas were “wearing military fatigue uniforms and disguised as soldiers” when they seized Curay who “was on board his black Honda XRM motorcycle and was on his way to report to work.”
NPA’s Ka Aris said they will “ensure the safety and security of POW Curay as he undergoes an investigation for his involvement in counterrevolutionary and anti-people activities in Laak.”
“The arrest of Curay and other tactical offensives should serve a strong warning against enemy troops that continue to protect exploiters of remaining natural resources at the expense of environmental preservation and people’s welfare,” he said.
In the same statement, the NPA also named the Big 4 “logging lords”, composed of Laak Mayor Reynaldo Navarro and police officers, and warned they will face sanctions if they continue with their trade and disobey the NPA’s total log ban policy.
“Wanton destruction of remaining forest cover and unchecked commercial logging in these areas have greatly impoverished Lumads and peasants and have made them more vulnerable to environmental disasters and climate change,” said Francisco.
He also accused politicians and state security forces for the massive illegal operations in Southern and Eastern Mindanao. Ka Aris also named Comval Gov. Arturo Uy as behind the Big 4.
“Thus, they stand to face NPA sanction against environmental plunderers and destroyers of people’s livelihood,” he said.
“Aside from being goons for logging companies, the 60th IB and the 72nd IB are actively holding checkpoints in the areas to harass residents suspected as revolutionary forces; the soldiers take pictures of these civilians,” he explained.
He stressed that military’s active intelligence work has resulted to various harassments, abduction, killings of peasants and even uprooted crops planted by the peasants.
“In the face of these abuses, the NPA has intensified its tactical offensives against the AFP,” he said and claimed they had launched eight offensive actions against the military in various towns where illegal logging is rampant.(davaotoday.com)