By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The Nona Del Rosario Command of the New People Army in Ifugao denied that the four individuals presented by the military as rebel returnees during the Independence Day commemoration in the province are their comrades.
“NPA Ifugao clarifies that no such thing happened. The truth is the four comrades are still active and committed to the revolution for the welfare of the people,” said rebel spokesperson Wigan Moncontad in an Ilokano statement emailed on August 11.
He called it a “desperate effort” of the military to present the rebel movement in the province as “weak” and “losing the support of the people.”
During the June 12 event in the province, the 54th Infantry Battalion, and provincial officials presented alleged former rebels Alex, Bombo, Lyka and Rigor (all aliases). The four took their “Oath of Allegiance” during the celebration and turned-over six firearms and improvised explosive devices.
The commander of the unit, Lt. Col. Narciso Nabulneg, Jr., the former rebels will receive the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, an inter-agency approach that provides various grants and compensations.
However, Moncatad said the “these [individuals] are not NPA but civilians who were forced to surrender.
According to him, the monthly media pronouncements of the 54th IB about rebels surrendering in the province are lies intended “to create the illusion of victory” and “a source of corruption” for AFP officials.
“It is insanity for the 54th IB to assume that they can silence the people by spreading lies and violence. Their set deadline to destroy the NPA in Ifugao by the 3rd quarter of 2019 is also a far-fetched dream,” the rebel said.
During the launching of Joint Campaign Plan Kapanatagan in Camp Bado Dangwa last May, 5th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Pablo Lorenzo Lorezon said that they will prioritize Ifugao in their campaign to wipe out communist rebels.
He claimed during the media briefing that the capabilities of the guerillas in the area have severely degraded because of their “convergence” with other government offices and sustained military operations.
In a separate statement, Moncontad accused the soldiers of human rights violations in their operations against the rebels.
He cited incidents where soldiers destroyed and seized civilian properties and encamped in residential areas that happened in Hungduan, Asipulo, and Tinoc. Among the incidents, he specified in the statement, were the transgressions committed against women in the communities.
According to him, the 54th IB claimed that single women in Sitio Pahipe, Brgy. Camandag, Asipulo only cost P200. He also mentioned an instance where a soldier entered the house of a married woman in the village of Namal, Asipulo and touched her breast, adding that a similar incident happened to an unmarried woman in Danggo, Tinoc.
“The AFP tried many times to make their image good. As a paid army, that has no regard to the ordinary people; [the AFP] can never hide its true character,” he said.
Moncontad urged the public to unite and fight the intensified attack against the people and expose human rights violations committed by the military. # nordis.net