Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CPP/NPA: AFP troops shoot foreign tourists in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon

NPA propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Feb 17): AFP troops shoot foreign tourists in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon

Alan Juanito
NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Operations Command (Julito Tiro Command)
The New People’s Army – North Central Mindanao Regional Command condemns the indiscriminate firing of operating AFP troops under the 4th Infantry Division against seven foreign tourists and their guide in a mountainous part of Brgy. Dalwangan, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on February 13, 2015, around 8:00 AM, which wounded a civilian.

Carlito Gayamara was wounded in this incident, receiving a gunshot wound on his upper arm. He was then serving as a tourist guide to seven foreign bird-watchers trekking Mt. Kitanglad. What was supposed to be the group’s immersion in a natural wonder turned into a traumatic experience when they, despite their shouts that they are civilians, were strafed for more than ten minutes by the reactionary troops.

The military did not even help their victim to the hospital and left Gayamara to shoulder all expenses for his medication by himself. Worse, they announced through the media that Gayamara was caught in crossfire and hit by a stray bullet. This is a big lie orchestrated to conceal their responsibility to the victim. There was no encounter between NPA and AFP troops in the area that day. Only the AFP troops and the tourists happened to meet at the time.

The absurdity of the AFP’s attack on civilian tourists is only exceeded by that of their effort to conceal and twist the truth. It is clear to us that this is one of those cases where AFP troops vent their anger on innocent civilians after their latest defeat in a battle with NPA fighters in the area. This is a big slap to the face of their much-vaunted “professionalism”, especially that of their elite forces.

It will be remembered that Red fighters under Mt. Kitanglad Sub-regional Command previously harassed operating troops of the Special Forces Battalion on February 11 in a neighboring area. Two of their troops were killed while five others were wounded, contrary to the 4th ID’s claim that only one of their soldiers was killed. In reaction, the AFP even bombarded the area with 12 artillery shells, in a clear desecration of what Lumads in the area consider a sacred haven. This resulted in the evacuation of more than 40 families to Brgy. Kibenton, Impasug-ong. Aside from being desperate, these troops are clearly demoralized, resulting in their paranoid attack on the tourists they encountered. This, however, is only a symptom of a bigger demoralization afflicting the whole organization of AFP and PNP after the Mamasapano tragedy.

The officers and troops who attacked the said group of tourists must be held culpable. They should, once more, ask for an apology from the Lumads in the area for violating the previous agreement between Gen. Gapuz and tribal leaders in 2012. Most importantly, however, the time is nigh for the ouster of their commander-in-chief, Benigno Aquino, who consistently denies his culpabilities and whose administration of the AFP, PNP and the whole nation is ridden with failures which resulted in the tragedy in Mamasapano and the tragedy of unprecedented suffering among the people.

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