From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 2): Army calls NPA ‘paranoid’ for abducting gov’t surveyors using drones
The military on Monday tagged the New People’s Army rebels as “paranoid” for abducting government surveyors who used drones while working in Compostela Valley.
“This is utter paranoia in the NPA’s part, even calling these unmanned aerial vehicles as ultimately instruments of mass genocide and civilian destruction (and mentioning predator drones), when these are clearly used for a purpose supporting development,” said Army’s 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Captain Ernest Carolina in a statement.
The NPA seized six government surveyors in New Leyte village in Maco town last May 30. They were doing validation work for the government’s National Greening Program when they were seized by the communist rebels.
A previous news report said that three of the six surveyors were freed, but Captain Alberto Caber, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, maintained that the six were still with the NPA.
“When the abduction happened, they held two DENR workers and a village chief at gunpoint before they fled. But they were not taken by the rebels,” he said.
In a statement, the NPA claims that the use of aerial reconnaissance “is merely a pretext to intensify imperialist mining plunder and counter-revolutionary intelligence in Southern Mindanao.”
“The NPA denounces the use of drones and other reconnaissance devices that are ultimately indiscriminate weapons of mass genocide and civilian destruction. The [unmanned aerial vehicles] are not only surveillance gadgets but are also weapons for aerial attacks and strikes, designed and used by US imperialism,” Daniel Ibarra, spokesperson of NPA in Davao said.
Carolina downplayed the NPA’s statements, saying that this only goes to show that the NPA is “anti-development,” “anti-people” and “anti-organization.”
He maintained that the surveyors were completely non-military activity.
“The NPA is particularly paranoid because it wants to hide its activities to ensure their so called revolution will continue – the same activities which make their leaders wallow in wealth (as confirmed in recent arrests of ranking NPA leaders by virtue of warrants of arrest) while their Red fighters whom they teach a “simple life” are toiling in the mountains,” he said.
In their inspirational messages, Lambayong Mayor Florante Agduma, Lambayong Vice Mayor Ramon Abalos, and Lt. Col. Markton Abo, Battalion Commander of 33rd IB expressed the same observations on the unity among the local leaders and the tri-people of the town. “We are glad to have this peace advocacy in our town. We hope that there will be no more war and conflict. It is the time for us to unite”, Mayor Agduma said.
“We are elated to be informed about the FAB and the CAB. Let us show to the GPH our unity”, Vice Mayor Abalos said. “As a Muslim, I am thankful because there is no more war. I cannot anymore fight against my fellow Muslims”, Col. Abo said.
About few minutes after he started his message, a loud explosion occurred a kilometer away from the venue but as a soldier, Col. Abo remained unperturbed and continued to speak but some of the civilians in the audience distanced themselves from the venue. The military and the police sensed that it was a handiwork of anti-peace or spoilers of peace who wanted the people to continuously live in fear, chaos and violence. In an investigation conducted by authorities revealed that there were no casualties in the said explosion.
Prof. Esmael A. Abdula, the BLMI Training Officer and currently the Chairman of the Campaign and Mass Mobilization, Sub Committee on Information, Committee on Information, MILF CC and member of the Steering Committee of Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) was the guest speaker.
He lectured on “Understanding the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and its four annexes. He discussed the 17-year GPH-MILF Peace Process saying that the FAB was a product of a diplomatic, lengthy and hard process engaged on by both parties to finally resolve the Mindanao question.
Under the FAB, both parties agreed for the establishment of a new political entity called Bangsamoro with a ministerial form of government. Also with Abdula were Arman Armada, the head of the Committee on Information Secretariat who lectured on the ministerial form of government; Kalilintad Dev’t Foundation, Inc. Executive Director Moidjoddin Talusob delved on MILF Policies and Islamic Perspectives, and Judy Jaafar, member BTC Communication Group spoke on the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Brigade Commander Guevarra Sanday of the 3rd Brigade, MILF-BIAF 106th Base Command called on Lambayongeños to support the peace process. “The least that we can do for the peace process is not to be a hindrance to it”, Guevarra said.
Lambayong Councilors Jerry Solaiman, Ustadz Abubakar Sa’ban Mamaluba, Ustadz Abdurrasid Midzapak, Daguma Provincial Chair Daud Madaliday, Lambayong Municipal Chair Lakim Guiano, Baby Dalgan, BTC-Communication Group member Judibee Jabar and Alex Lucero also imparted some words of wisdom.
The program was initiated by the Lambayong Political Committee headed by Municipal Chairman Lakim Guiano, Brigade Commanders Guevarra Sanday and Bato Kamad of 106th Base Command, PAPC, Daguma Information Committee, SWC, and other line agencies in partnership with the Mindanaoan Humanitarian Dev’t Initiative, Inc. (MinHuDI). Officials of local government units of the 26 barangays of Lambayong and municipal leaders also supported and attended the program.