RPOC Chair And Davao Oriental Governor Condemns NPA Atrocities Amidst COVID-19 Crisis

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Davao Oriental:       Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang strongly denounced the recent atrocity committed by the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) which he said is a clear manifestation of their reputation as terrorists and anti-people.

On Saturday, April 11, five members of the NPA open fired at the troopers of the 67th Infantry Battalion who were only conducting security patrol at Barangay Mahan-ub, in the municipality of Baganga, Davao Oriental. The troop was in the area to respond to the reports from the residents that they were being forced by the armed group to give them some of the relief goods given to them by the government.

Responding to the complaint, the Alpha Company, led by Platoon Leader 2nd Lieutenant Joseph de Leon, together with two squads conducted the security patrol to validate the report, only to be fired upon by five NPA members. The troop retaliated which resulted in a firefight that lasted for about 10 minutes.

There was no casualty on the government side while the NPA rebels scampered and managed to escape.

Prior to the incident, the soldiers were having a small-group dialogue with the locals of Sitio Tagtigbai and Sitio Casunugan when one NPA member named Ron Ron (not his real name) voluntarily surrendered with high-powered firearms to the patrol base commander of the Philippine Army Delta Company. Ron-Ron confirmed that there were still members of the group wandering around the area.

“What they did was a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement. While the government is at the thick of implementing measures to combat COVID-19, they still managed to do such acts. This is a lesson learned also that the government must no longer talk or make arrangements with CPP-NPA,” said Governor Dayanghirang.

Dayanghirang added that putting an end to the negotiations with the “reds” has been the stand of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) which he chairs.

Governor Dayanghirang said that regardless of what had transpired, the government, especially the local government will continue its efforts to ensure the welfare of the people of Davao Oriental, underlining that the government will not be stopped on its efforts to protect the people from these terrorists and even from the invisible enemy the dreaded COVID-19.  Gov. Dayanghirang ensures that the momentum gained in the fight against COVID will continue.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Louie Dema-ala, Commanding Officer of the 67 IB, said that “In this time of crisis, we should work together to act on and solve the problem.”

“We should all cooperate and give all our support to help end this pandemic. To the public, rest assured that we will remain steadfast in fighting insurgency in the province while concentrating also our efforts in battling the COVID-19,” he added. By: Ms. Neela Duallo and PIO with reports from 67th IB, PA

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