[Post from the 60th Infantry "Mediator" Battalion]
ASUNCION, DDN – After being attacked by local defense forces in Barangay Sta. Emilia, Laak, Compostela Valley Province on Monday, residents report that the CPP-NPA retaliated and ransacked several houses on their way out.
On Monday noon, some armed men believed to be under the CPP-NPA’s weakened Guerilla Front 3 were camping in the hinterlands of Barangay Sta. Emilia when members of the Bagani (tribal warriors) attacked them in their post.
The fleeing terrorists, however, were able to ransack some houses on their way out.
Reporting to the authorities, one resident said his rice has been stolen by the terrorists. Another resident said at least Php 10,000.00 pesos worth of grocery items were stolen from his store.
A local pastor’s house was also looted by the terrorists, taking with them a month’s worth of tithes from the church’s members.
At least seven more houses were forcibly opened, their doors smashed, and padlocks destroyed.
Barangay Sta. Emilia were among the first communities of Laak called “Alsa Masa” who rose against the terrorism of the CPP-NPA.
Lt. Col. Ombos, Commander of the 60th Infantry Battalion, commended the locals for their steadfast stand against the terrorist group. He says that Laak’s effective local defense system has been very helpful in deterring the CPP-NPA’s terroristic activities.
The Bagani forms part of the barangay’s Integrated Territorial Defense System (ITDS) which also comprises the CAFGU, the local barangay police force, and some civilian volunteer organizations.
Message to the CPP-NPA
“This is our home. You [CPP-NPA] cannot frighten us. You will never be welcome here,” one of the tribal leaders of the place was quoted saying.
In relation to their ongoing pursuit operations, Ombos adds, “With no food, very little rest, and the community they thought they could run to already turning against them, we’re more certain we’ll get to them soon. Nonetheless, we have assured them through their families, relatives, and their local leaders that we are ever ready to accept their voluntary surrender if they choose so. [And] it’s best they do.”
A Hero of Laak
Residents of Laak town and some netizens, on the other hand, continue to send their condolences to the family of the late CAFGU Active Auxiliary Cherwyn Paragoya whom they now consider as a “hero of Laak.” CAA Paragoya is a resident of Barangay Sta. Emilia himself.
During the flag raising ceremony held Tuesday at Laak Municipal Hall in observance of the National Heroes’ Day, Mayor Antonio Libuangan recognized CAA Paragoya’s heroism and sacrifice.
“CAA Paragoya is no doubt a hero of this town. We will forever be in his debt knowing that his sacrifice will be the reason our children will sleep in peace in their time. Our task is to ensure that his sacrifice would not be put in vain. We will continue to build the foundations of a lasting peace for our beloved Laak. [And] it will be CAA Paragoya and this generation’s legacy,” the mayor said.
Photo taken on July 30, 2017 shows guerrillas of the New People's Army (NPA) in the Sierra Madre mountain range, located east of Manila. Noel Celis, AFP/File
[The Civil Relations Service (CRS) is the unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that engages the public through its public information and community relations programs “to create a favorable atmosphere between the community and the AFP. The CRS is the equivalent of the Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units of the US Army.]