NPA guerrillas hit joint paramilitary-military troops in “NPA-free area”

Spokesperson, Magtanggol Roque Command
NPA Southern Mindanao

The New People's Army Magtanggol Roque Command Front 51 Operations Command in Southern Mindanao ambushed a 16-man section of the CAFGU/39th Infantry Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division (Armed Forces of the Philippines) on Sunday, April 25 around 6:00 AM in Sitio Patulangon, Brgy. Coronon, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. The almost two-hour firefight resulted to two dead and one wounded on the enemy side while the NPA suffered no casualty. The NPA also seized one M14 rifle.

This latest NPA ambush belies the military's claim that Sta. Cruz town and the rest of Davao del Sur is "NPA-free" — a contention meant to fool the hierarchy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines more than they can fool the people.

In a desperate bid to smokescreen the utter failure of (the Arroyo government's national security plan) Oplan Bantay Laya, the fascist military attempts to assuage its pricked ego and for the nth time, twists facts and peddles endless lies.

Both the 39th IB-AFP and its mother unit, the 10th ID-Eastern Mindanao Command dismissed the Sunday incident as a mere encounter and not a planned ambush launched by the Red fighters. They also hid from the public the actual casualty count and the number of ambushed troops. Contradicting media statements made by military spokespersons 1Lt. Raul Villegas and Capt. Emmanuel Garcia only show how the military subverts the truth in order to save face.

Not contented with its lies, the military stretches the tall tale too far by dragging the names of Nacionalista Party senatorial guest candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza in this recent NPA tactical offensive. The AFP desperately wants to make the most out of the oft-repeated lie that Red fighters and progressive parliamentarians are one and the same to justify the AFP's deliberate armed attacks on civilian progressive groups and individuals.

This worn out AFP lie is a product of a bad script that bolsters another equally prominent lie — that they are not involved in partisan politics. By its mercenary tradition and own acts of obvious partisanship ranging from active smear campaigns against Arroyo critics to extra-judicial killing and manipulation of election results, the AFP miserably fails in diverting public recollection of the "Hello Garci" scandal. A daily dose of blatant AFP electioneering will always remind people how the AFP generals employed the full force of the military establishment to rig the 2004 presidential elections in favor of the hated Gloria Arroyo.

It is a matter of public knowledge that the NPA launches tactical offensives as a basic task to strengthen its ranks and to serve punitive actions against fascist state elements. The Sunday ambush was a punishment against the 39th IB-AFP for a number of human rights violations it committed against the masses in Davao del Sur and North Cotabato.

As early as 2006, the 39th IB-AFP had been terrorizing local residents, especially poor peasants and lumads, parading them as NPA surrenderees after pressuring them to admit being NPA members. They have put up detachments within civilian communities and forcibly conscripted residents for the Barangay Defense System. By arming village officials and ordering them to spy against the revolutionary movement, the 39th IB-AFP is guilty of violating the war protocols of the Geneva Conventions that specifically prohibits involving the civilian populace for military operations.

This same military unit is responsible for the murder of Comrade Nonoy (Ernesto Baldevieso) who was captured and rendered hors de combat last March 13. Instead of upholding his rights as a prisoner-of-war in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the 39th IB summarily killed him — a brazen violation of international humanitarian law and the protocols of war.