Tuesday, May 26, 2020

210 IP families flee homes as NPAs attack village

From the Manila Bulletin (May 26, 2020): 210 IP families flee homes as NPAs attack village (By Mike Crismundo)

About 210 families have fled their homes in the farming town of San Fernando in Bukidnon after an attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) on the village last Friday, May 22, according to the military.

Shown in photo is the personnel of the 403rd Brigade and local government unit of San Fernando town in Bukidnon province assisting the evacuees who fled from their respective homes due to alleged harassment by communist terrorists in highland villages of that same town on Friday, May 22, 2020. (Photo courtesy of 403rd Brigade-CMO via Mike U. Crismundo/Manila Bulletin)

Civil Military Operations (CMO) Officer of 403rd Brigade Capt. Rene M. Belmonte, Jr. told The Manila Bulletin on Tuesday that field units of the 403rd Brigade were currently assisting the local government of San Fernando in distributing food packs to each of the families, which are being of temporarily sheltered at the town and barangay proper evacuation centers.

Food packs per family consisted of five kilos rice, can goods and other immediate needs of the highland villagers.

The San Fernando municipal government and 403rd Brigade also extended assistance to the family of Jerson Bianza, son of the chairperson of Barangay Magkalungay, who died May 22 after the NPAs fired at his home in Sitio Spring, Barangay Cawayan.

“This harassment by the Communist terrorists made the highland people flee their homes,” Belmonte said.

“The terrorists do this out of desperation to recover the village who was once an NPA stronghold,” the 403rd CMO officer said.

Aside from relief assistance, stress debriefings were also conducted to ease the fear and panic amongst the internally displaced peoples (IDPs), he said.

Government security forces were present in the area to provide security and manpower assistance.

San Fernando Mayor Levi C. Edma, who is also chairman of San Fernando Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF- ELCAC) condemned the attack of the Communist insurgents.

“I am very much disappointed in the barbaric acts committed by the NPA at Sitio Spring, Barangay Kawayan of our municipality. I really feel bad that in the midst of the present pandemic crisis, these rebels took advantage of the situation. Napakasama ang mga ganitong mga salot sa ating lipunan,” Belmonte said, quoting the statement of the town chief executive.

The town mayor also appealed to the 403rd brigade to conduct pursuit operation to wipe out and prevent the NPA from coming to their town again.

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