By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Agustin Begnalen Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Abra condemned the ongoing military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Malibcong, Abra province pointing out that the military are making the civilian population suffer.
In a press statement, Diego Wadagan, NPA Abra spokesperson, said there are no NPA rebels trapped in Barangay Duldulao in Malibcong as he criticized the air strikes launched by the AFP on March 16. This was in reaction to media pronouncements of Col. Dominic Baluga, commander of the 24th IB of the Philippine Army that some rebels were trapped in the said village and are asking for help from cause oriented groups.
Wadagan also belied Baluga’s accusation that NPA rebels burned the forest in Malibcong. “The airstrike caused the forest fire,” he reiterated.
“The people of Malibcong know that the NPA rebels strictly prohibits environmental destruction such as burning a forest,” Wadagan added.
Wadagan called the on going military operations in Malibcong an act of terrorism against the people. He said that government troops are violating the rights of the people in their effort to get even for the raid of a police station and ambush of a police convoy last March 12 and 13.
“What is happening in Malibcong town and even as far as Bangued is martial law, where government troops control the economic and political affairs of the people,” Wadagan said.
According to the NPA spokesperson, the air strikes traumatized the people, destroyed their sources of livelihood and the environment. He added that government troops have been harassing the people, accusing local officials of being NPAs and even cause oriented groups as NPA supporters.
He mentioned that on March 16, government soldiers illegally searched the farm hut of Waloy Balutoc, an elder and former barangay captain of Pacgued.
“Despite the people’s call for a stop to the military operations government troops insist on their violent combat operations that is not really crushing the NPA,” Wadagan said. # nordis.net