DAVAO CITY – The New People’s Army said its attack against Army troops in Calinan, Davao City, morning of Wednesday is “justified” as “it was a fitting punishment against the brutal operations of the Oplan Bayanihan counter-revolutionary forces.”

Ka Parago Sandoval, spokesperson of the NPA’s 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion, said Army troops “have instigated aerial bombing last March 23 and 26 (in Calinan) and in a separate occasion last April in Paquibato (District).”

“They only clear the way to pursue landgrabbing, set off discord among Lumads and peasants and promote abject underdevelopment of hinterland villages,” said Ka Parago.

He said the  NPAs “raided an oversized platoon of the 69th Infantry Battalion, 84th IB and 71st IB of the 701st brigade of the 10th ID in Sitio Isled, Barangay Dalagdag, Calinan last May 6 at 9am, killing four enemy troops and wounding eight other soldiers.”

In news reports, First Lieutenant Vergel Lacambra, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said troops from the 69th Infantry Battalion were on “security patrol” in Barangay Dalagdag, Calinan.

Lacambra said the government troops encountered 50 NPA rebels at around 9:45 a.m. in Sitio Isled.

Lacambra named the seven wounded as Private Kevin T. Barrientos, Privates First Class Jesse Corpuz, Arleston S. Este, Robert Ryan P. Elo, Alvin D. Sumalinog, Jason M. Lagua, and Army militiaman Edgardo Emolong.

In a Sunstar Davao report, killed were Privates First Class Zomel Castillo, Jarwin Serot and Algie Sevillano of the 69th Infantry Battalion.

Lacambra said the fight took 45 minutes but Ka Parago said “(r)ed fighters prevailed over the fascist troops after the two-hour gun fight.”

Ka Parago said they were able to seize an M203 grenade launcher, an automatic rifle, M16 rifle, 400 pieces of M60 ammunition, 200 pieces of K3 ammunition, eight army packs, five pairs of army boots, 34 magazines, 10 military vests, various documents, operational map, android tablets and cellphones.

“It was part of the 1st PBC’s campaign against the 15 columns of AFP units operating in Calinan, Buhangin and Paquibato districts, Davao City,” said Parago.

Ka Parago also accused the Army of having “mauled the residents and filed trumped-up charges against progressive leaders and members of Paquibato peasant organization.”

“As enemies of the people who only protect the interest of the ruling class, the 69th IB and the 84th IB troops deserve the fury of the masses and, thus, remain legitimate targets of the people’s army,” he said.

In his Sunday television program, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said “it is war, maybe ambush.”

“I am always against operations in Mindanao today. If I can help it I’d rather they (Army) stay there and the other side (NPAs) do not engage so casualties can be minimized,” he said.

Duterte believes that “after all, this war is already 43 years. How many more years do we need? It has to stop because it is not good to kill each other.” (davaotoday.com)

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