BONTOC, Mt. Province — Affected residents of this province slammed the 5th ID for disrupting their economic activities as the military conducted aerial and ground operations in the mountains. In reports and emails received by Nordis, the bombings, strafing and simultaneous ground patrols happened after five military men were killed and another four were wounded in an encounter with the New People’s Army in Mainit, Bontoc last January 27.
The residents expressed anger that while rehabilitation of typhoon damages is slow, costly military operations in Mountain Province which started January 24, 2010 are being implemented which disrupt the villagers’ livelihood and their efforts at rehabilitation of typhoon damages.
On January 24, truckloads of military personnel entered parts of Besao, Bontoc, Sadanga, Sagada, and Tadian. On the 27th, operatives of the 501st Brigade started bombing nearby forests where ricefields and “uma” are situated scaring farmers and children. Some residents of Aguid, Sagada were strafed at by military helicopters while they were going to get firewood to be used in the wake of a barrio mate.
Community people from Dalikan were also harassed by some fifty military men on foot patrol whom they met when they went out to get their carabaos in the pasture area and gather wood for their dead last January 28. The people also fear contamination of their water sources as there were indiscriminate bombings of their watersheds. In Sadanga, the military even camped in civilian houses. As of press time, there are reports that there are still heavily armed military units being dispatched to different parts of the province.
The villagers claim this is a clear violation of the agreements reached during the dialogue held last December 15, 2009 at Teng-ab, Bontoc where among other things it was agreed that no military presence and operations in the barangays should be conducted without the expressed consent of the village.
Meanwhile, the people are prevented from repairing their water systems for household needs and irrigation, rice fields, roads and other infrastructure. They are alarmed that food production and other economic activities would be put on hold while the military indefinitely conduct operations in the surrounding areas.
Government and Nordis reports from the provinces point to similar incidents in the boundary of Abra and Kalinga where elements of the 5th ID are likewise conducting counter-insurgency operations.
Government reports that two separate attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) on government soldiers in the municipalities of Tubo and Malibcong, Abra last week resulted to the death of five Army troopers and wounding of 17 others.
The casualties were identified as PFC Robert B. Lobhoy, PFC Saldivar W. Anno, PFC Honey N. Mateo, PFC Angelo C. Calderon and PFC Santiago S. Decena.
The wounded soldiers were PFC Ronel Villanueva, PFC Manny L. Marcos, PFC Neceson B. Gemino, PFC Alfredo Ganongan, PFC Abraham B. Bobis, PFC Billy Ray A. Noblado, PFC Conrado H. Torres, PVT Brainard T. Dumondon, PFC Jason D. Pantaleon, and PFC Jayson V. Grutas. They were airlifted to the Abra Provincial Hospital for medical treatment.
In the pursuit operations that ensued, seven more soldiers were injured in the firefight, namely: Sgt Rodolfo P Dombrique Jr., PFC Frank B Nawi, PFC Felix Gac-oy, PFC Antonio B. Allawi, PFC Jaylord B. Reboredo, PFC Glendon L Guillermo, and Pvt Jay-ar M Laman. They were evacuated to the Abra Provincial Hospital, Bangued for treatment then to the AFP Medical Center, Quezon City last February 2.
In Malibcong on January 27, commando platoons of the AFP swooped into Malibcong, destroying and trampling on vegetable gardens and newly-planted rice seedlings along their route.
In Tubo, Abra on February 1, reports reveal that 41st IB soldiers suffered 20 casualties with 9 killed and 11 wounded. Again, attack helicopters and OV-10 bombers indiscriminately fired machineguns and rocket bombsin ancestral hunting grounds, farms and pasture lands in the boundaries of Bangilo and Mataragan, Abra and Umnap in Kalinga.
The people in the areas expressed concern over the destruction of property and lives as the military continues to pour more troops into the said municipalities.
They are irked that their farms, pasture lands and animals are targeted during bombing runs. They are afraid for their lives as military men enter their villages in pursuit operations. # nordis.net