Army condemns NPA atrocities against farmers in Central Mindanao

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, Aug. 25 (PNA) — Military authorities of the 6th Infantry Division have condemned the atrocities committed by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in remote villages in North Cotabato.

Following the incident, 6th ID chief Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan has directed all units under his jurisdiction to maintain and intensify the peace and development operations in remote communities to lay down the atmosphere of development.

On Sunday, suspected members of the NPA under Commander Aman and Commander Jecko, executed farmer Alvin Enca on suspicion he was a military informant in President Roxas, North Cotabato.

Enca was walking home when suspected NPAs shot him to death along a dirt road of Barangay Lama-Lama Upper, President Roxas, North Cotabato.

“It was a clear violation of his human rights and we condemn this dastardly act,” Lt. Colonel Jose Rustia, commander of the 57th Infantry Battalion based in Makilala, North Cotabato.

His unit has jurisdiction over military personnel assigned as peacekeepers in the hinterlands of Arakan, Antipas, President Roxas, Magpet, Kidapawan City and Makilala, all in North Cotabato.

Rustia also blamed the NPAs for the murder of Joel Gulamtico, a former member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) operating in President Roxas on August 17.

Like Enca, Rustia said, Gulmatico was also suspected of being military informer in President Roxas and was killed in front of his horrified family.

But Rustia denied they were military assets.

“They were not informers and they were ordinary farmers working for the welfare of peasants in North Cotabato agricultural communities,” Rustia said in his report to the 6th ID.

Some farmers and progressive organizations in North Cotabato backed by the communist movement have been opposed to the military’s peace and development program in North Cotabato’s hinterland communities.

The NPAs were behind the series of guerrilla attacks against military personnel engaged in peace and development program in North Cotabato.

The latest of which was the roadside bombing perpetrated by the rebels on an Army convoy in Magpet, North Cotabato that killed, not only soldiers, but civilians.

Despite the attacks on government forces, Rustia said the Army will continue its mandate of helping communities attain peace and development through community participation. (PNA)