DAVAO CITY – The New People’s Army claimed it seized a total of 74 firearms and other war materiel during a raid of a town mayor’s mining compound Tuesday night in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

Ka Aris Francisco, spokesperson of the NPA’s Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command, said they seized “three M60 machine guns, seven M14 rifles, 13 M16 rifles, nine Garand rifles, three baby M16 rifles, a carbine, two bush masters (AR-15), one ultimax (machine gun), one M203 rifle, one RPG, one galil rifle, 1 AK 200, and 11 shotguns” from the mining company compound of Monkayo Mayor Joselito Brillantes, Jr.

Francisco said they also seized “two 9 mm pistols, eight .45 caliber pistol, one .38 caliber pistol and nine KG rifles (sub-machine guns), 14,000 rounds of assorted ammunition, and military vests and radios.”

Francisco said they “punished Mayor Brillantes for his overt participation in the commission of various crimes against the people in the furtherance of his economic and political interest in Monkayo.”

Francisco accused Brillantes of having committed “serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law for building and maintaining a private armed group in pursuit of mining interests.”

“His private armed group was organized in collaboration with the regular, intelligence and paramilitary forces of the (Army’s) 25th IB (Infantry Battalion)  under the 10th ID

He said “several persons, including ordinary farmers and residents who enter his mining compound, were missing as they were suspected of being victims of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by Mayor Brillantes’ goons.”

In a press conference Wednesday, the Army said Brillantes may have been targeted by the NPA because of his support of their activities.

Lieutenant Coronel Francis Sibal, commander of the Civil Military Operations of the Army’s 10th ID, said the NPAs attacked their Patrol Base in Banlag, Monkayo, at about 9pm Tuesday night, killing one CAA (Civilian Active Auxiliary) Jay Goc-ong.

Sibal said the NPAs mounted three road “vehicular blockades” one of which hit the Patrol Base, the other was in Barangay Olaycon near Brillantes’ mining company compound and another in Bankerohan Sur in the neighboring town of Montevista.

“These are the main thoroughfares where police and Army reinforcements will supposedly pass,” said Sibal.

In a statement, Colonel Romeo Brawner, Jr, spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command said the NPA were only able to get eight high powered firearms during the raid.

Brawner said that Brillantes’ security guard Roberto Baysa, “died while defending his guard post in the 5-minute attack.”

Meanwhile, Francisco said that Brillantes’ workers “have not received wages for several months now, and have not been receiving social benefits, medical assistance and other forms of remuneration.”

He said the attack “should serve as a stern warning against other warlord-politicians who deviate from civilian functions and use militarism to advance mining interest and economic gain.”

“This should also serve as a lesson against GPH officials who continue to participate, support and finance the US-Aquino regime’s counter-revolutionary program and anti-people Oplan Bayanihan,” he said. (davaotoday.com)

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