DAVAO CITY – After their successive attacks on police and military troops in Matanao, Davao del Sur, the New People’s Army issued a statement saying their attacks were “punishment” for protecting a mining company and criminal syndicates.
NPA Valentine Palamine Command Far South Mindanao spokesperson Dencio Madrigal issued this statement in response to pronouncements from police and military officials that the attacks were part of the NPA’s celebration of its 45th year anniversary on March 29.
Madrigal said “the Davao del Sur PNP (Philippine National Police) officers and members are notorious coddlers of illegal drug pushers and other criminal syndicates. They are, thus, legitimate targets of the people’s army at any time of the year.”
Madrigal’s statement was refuted by PNP Chief General Director Alan Purisima, who visited the wake of the two policemen and gave them posthumous award medals, cash assistance and other benefits to the families.
“Do not believe them they are just fabricating a propaganda at magaling silang mag-fabricate ng isyu (and they are good in fabricating issues),” he told the media.
The police chief also visited the Medical Center of Digos Cooperative where three other policemen were recuperating from their wounds. They were given financial assistance and medals of wounded personnel.
The NPA spokesman also said that the Philippine Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion and police units in Davao del Sur have committed human rights violations against indigenous peoples and farmers that opposed operations of a multinational mining company.
“The AFP/PNP units in Matanao and other towns in Davao del Sur deserved to be disarmed and punished because in their defense of Xstrata mining, they have killed, injured, discharged aerial bombs, all part of their reign of terror against the Lumad and settlers communities who have fiercely battled against mining since 1992 when the project was still under the Western Mining Corporation,” Madrigal said.
“The 39th IB remains as security forces and fascist thugs of Glencore Xstrata large-scale mining, a mining giant poised to continue to exploit the nearly 100,000 hectares of mining-rich ancestral lands of Lumad Blaans and peasants in the region,” he added.
Last March 10, NPA fighters raided a police headquarters in Matanao, Davao del Sur, killing three police officers in a firefight and confiscated seven M16 rifles, three pistols and several ammunition vests, the NPA statement said.
Madrigal said two NPA members were killed in the firefight.
A pursuit team led by the 39th IB was hit by a “command detonated explosive”, killing nine soldiers including an officer, 2nd lieutenant Ludevico Alejo, and injuring seven others.
Authorities arrested nine persons they claimed were NPAs. But Madrigal said the police arrested were civilians who were attending a fiesta in Barangay Savoy.
The nine arrested were Renante Urot, Joey Alberca, Rufoboy Gama, Laudemer Gama, Noel Morangit, Roger Natonton, Julio Sales, John Rey Pabillo and Christopher Sales. (davaotoday.com)