DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / July 12, 2012) – Five government soldiers were killed in separate attacks by communist rebels in Davao City in the southern Philippines, a guerrilla leader said Thursday.
Leoncio Pitao, leader of the New People’s Army’s 1st Pulang Bagani Company, said rebel forces killed the soldiers in three offensive operations in Paquibato, Calinan and Marilog districts.
“The NPA actions were in retaliation to the strike, intelligence and civic military operations of the 69th Infantry Battalion and 84th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and paramilitary CAFGU.”
“These troops have been responsible for the series of land grabbing, dislocation and mining preparation in Marilog, profiling and psychological warfare in Paquibato and Calinan district,” Pitao said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.
CAFGU refers to Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit which is under the control of the military.
He said villagers were complaining about the presence of government troops in those areas and that the soldiers had been, at often time, posing as NPA rebels to deceive the locals.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines would oftentimes pose as Red fighters to deceive the masses, but instead of endearing themselves to the peasant and Lumad masses, they are hated and feared.”
“They may enjoy the support of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, but they are abhorred in the hearts of the masses who can clearly see beyond the peace and development masquerade, and who anticipate to be at the receiving end of the AFP’s human rights abuses,” Pitao said.
Lumad is one of several indigenous tribes in the region. And Duterte is an ardent supporter of the military in Davao, where the rebels – who are fighting for a separate state in the country – are actively operating.
There was no immediate statement from the military about Pitao’s allegations.