From GMA News (Sep 4): Soldier slain, 80 families displaced in Cotabato clash
A soldier was killed in a clash with members of the New People's Army in
far-flung Barangay Cabilao on Tuesday noon.
1st Lt. Nasrullah Sema, chief
civil military operations of the 57th Infantry Battalion, identified the
fatality as Sgt. Arnold Vigo of the Bravo Company, 57th IB.
Sema, in an
interview over dxND, said Vigo and his troops were on patrol operations after
the New NPA guerrillas torched the rubber processing plant of the Standard
Rubber Development Corporation (Standeco) in nearby Barangay Talun-talunan, when
the clash erupted.
He said the firefight lasted for hours, seriously
wounding Vigo who died hours later while being treated at a hospital in
“Before the firefight, a landmine planted along the road
leading to Cabilao went off... but it did not deter security forces from their
pursuit operations,” Sema said.
Also, he said the soldiers believe the
rebels they encountered in Cabilao on Tuesday noon were the same group that
torched last Sunday night Standeco’s processing plant, office, and
Damage the attack caused on the plant was estimated at P30
million, he added.
An initial investigation showed the rebels belong to
the NPA Guerrilla Front 72 that operates within the tri-boundary of Cotabato,
Sultan Kudarat, and Davao del Sur provinces.
Some 700 Standeco workers,
mostly contractual, lost their jobs after the attack on the rubber processing
facility, said Makilala Mayor Rudy Caoagdan.
“I know it would take time
before the establishment could recover from its big losses. So, it’s a lot
difficult for the affected workers to also recover after losing their jobs.
These workers are on a ‘no work, no pay’ status,” the mayor
Meanwhile, reports said 80 families from four sitios in Cabilao
fled their homes at the height of the armed confrontation at about 4:30 p.m.
Of the 80 families, at least 30 were temporarily housed at
the barangay hall, while others have sought refuge in the homes of relatives and
Kagawad Armando Laman of Barangay Cabilao, in a message sent to
dxND, said the evacuees come from sitios Lamudon, Eden, Medang, and Badiangon,
all hinterland sitios of Barangay Cabilao.
Laman said the fighting has
caused so much trouble among farmers and rubber tappers in the
“Our farmers, who have depended so much on their farm for them
to survive, were prevented from tilling their lands because the tension between
the AFP and the NPA is still high,” said Laman.