By ARIS FRANCISCO
Spokesperson, NPA Comval-North Davao-South Agusan Subregional Command
To step up its total log ban campaign, Red fighters under the New People’s Army Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command arrested another member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines unit responsible for coddling and protecting massive logging in Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley, and Davao del Norte provinces.
Arrested on 3 May 2014 at 7:00am in Barangay (village) Florida, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, was Corporal Rogelio Rosales, with serial number 841376, of the 60th Infantry Battalion, Bravo Company. Prisoner of War (POW) Rosales was on the process of arranging for the transit of logs when apprehended by the NPA. A sachet of shabu drugs (methamphetamine) was also found in his possession, proof that soldiers who are coddling big loggers in the province were also into the illegal drug trade.
Rosales, just like Sgt. Jeric Bucio Curay of the 72nd Infantry Battalion who was arrested and declared as POW last 4 April and released last 23 April, is part of the gang of soldiers under the 60th IB-72ndIB-Big 4 troika that is liable for the environmentally-destructive and anti-people logging business in Southern Mindanao and Caraga regions.
To continue the operations of their logging syndicate and in an attempt to evade NPA sanction, the Big 4 has changed the name of their group to TANGGO. Composed of Laak Mayor Reynaldo Navarro, SPO3 Eduardo Bajalia of the Regional Intelligence Office (Philippine National Police), SPO Simplicio Samar, and retired police officer Diosdado Wamilda, TANGGO operates in Trento, Agusan del Sur; Laak, Compostela Valley; and Kapalong, Davao del Norte. They secretly ferret out the logs along the highway at night and bring it to the TPPMC Cuambugan plywood plant. Ret. Police officer Wamilda is in charge of the illegal logs transaction at the plant. One of their partners is Nonoy Magandam who buys the logs in Trento town and whose name they use while in transit and when transacting with the plywood plant. Prices of the logs are controlled, manipulated and dictated by the Big 4, oftentimes cheating small-scale and petty loggers and small owners.
Thus, in the face of brazen abuse of power and wanton disregard of the environmental preservation, the NPA perseveres in imposing its total log ban campaign and carrying out punitive sanctions against the AFP and the big logging lords. To protect the remaining forest covers, campaign for reforestation, stop abusive large-scale logging, and secure the livelihood of the masses through sustainable communal farming, the NPA Subregional Command strongly enforces its total log ban policy. Recently, the NPA has confiscated logs in sitio Patel, Barangay Gupitan in Kapalong, as well as in Barangays Datu Davao and Balwarte, in Laak.