Barely two months after the attack in Sitio Tapayanon, Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, communist guerrillas again raided an isolated Ata-Manobo in the same town.
1Lt. Amadeuz Vj Celestial, the civil-military operations officer of the 60th Infantry battalion, said the attack transpired Monday morning while soldiers were conducting outreach activities to the people in the community.
He said rebels fired on the soldiers who retaliated, resulting in a 10-minute clash. The Philippine Air Force provided close air support, which forced the New People’s Army fighters to escape. No one was hurt in the encounter.
Since the last attack in Tapayanon, the military and the villagers have become more vigilant. The 60th IB has since leveled up the village’s defense system.
Kapalong Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol condemned the NPA’s “total disregard for human life” and “traitorous act of cowardice and treason.”
She said that the local government and the military will continue to safeguard the communities against harassment and attacks from the NPA.
The Tribal Council of Sitio Tapayanon, through the Office of the Municipal Tribal Affairs of Kapalong, also issued Resolution 01-2020, which called for “legal action and justice … for the innocent inhabitants of the sitio.
The Army described the attack as a “nuisance harassment” to instill fear in the villagers.
Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento, 60th IB commander, said soldiers will continue to empower residents of far-flung villages so they would be less vulnerable to NPA recruitment.
“We are doing good and this is certainly hurting them [CPP-NPA]. Because as we slowly but surely get rid of Tapayanon’s social, cultural, and economic poverty, we are also ripping the CPP-NPA off an entire community and some generations of potential communist-terrorist recruits,” Sarmiento said.
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