By OMAR IBARRA
Spokesperson, NPA Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub-Regional Command
A Philippine Army officer and two soldiers were killed while seven others were wounded in a series of harassments by Red fighters of the New People’s Army under the Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub-regional Command against units of the fascist armed forces’ Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) in the municipalities of La Paz and Talacogon, Agusan del Sur on 13 and 14 December 2014. There were no casualties on the NPA side.
On December 13, around 4:30 AM, an NPA team harassed a platoon-size COPD unit of the 26th and 36th Infantry Battalions stationed in a school in Sitio Libon, Barangay Leydia, La Paz. Three soldiers were wounded in this incident. Residents of the area have complained of the soldiers’ use of the said school as their barracks. The literacy-numeracy school is run by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines but has been used as barracks by the COPD unit since November.
On December 14, around 5:00 AM, a certain Lt. Meneses was killed while four other soldiers of a COPD unit of the 26th and 36th Infantry Battalions were wounded when an NPA squad used a CDEx (command detonated explosive) against them in Sitio Min-angkig, Barangay Angeles, La Paz. The said unit of more than 20 soldiers were supposed to augment the unit already stationed in the village when their main body was harassed more than 700 meters from the village center. Around 1:00 PM, Red fighters fired at the Huey helicopter used to rescue the enemy unit and collect their casualties.
Around 3:30 PM of the same day, another NPA team used a CDEx against a 6×6 truck laden with another COPD unit of the 26th Infantry Battalion in the log pond of Barangay Zillovia, Talacogon, Agusan del Sur. Two soldiers were killed in this incident. The said area is flat and mostly rice fields, and is only around three kilometers away from the battalion headquarters in the town center.
COPD units have been operating since November in 14 villages in the municipalities of La Paz and San Luis. Their operations serve the Aquino regime’s plan to accommodate the Metro Luxury Mining Corporation which intends to mine the area for gold and copper. In fact, soldiers forced tribal datus to sign in favor of the acquisition by the lumad agent Mario Napungahan of 30,000 hectares of ancestral lands in San Luis and Esperanza through a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). Before the COPD operations in the area, the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), which serves as an active promoter of the company, has failed in its activities.
The organized people faced and opposed not only the planned entry of the mining company but also the launching of psywar and intelligence operations of the COPD in barrio centers. During the celebration of Human Rights Day on December 10, four trucks of protesters from the said municipalities participated in the mass action in Butuan City condemning the militarization of the countryside and calling for the withdrawal of all COPD units. Roads and barrio centers turned red with placards and streamers with the said calls. Even tributaries of Agusan River were dotted with placards and streamers floated on banana stems. The protesters also continued launching dialogues, radio hoppings and other forms of legal struggle.
The NPA will continue to punish the COPD units and the whole reactionary armed forces not only to protect the rights of the people against the extractive interests of foreigners in cahoots with the US-Aquino regime, but also to serve revolutionary justice to all victims of continuing state terrorism. Only through the people’s democratic revolution can the people gradually assert the genuine interests and development of all the oppressed and exploited.