From the Philippine News Agency (May 12, 2020): Gov't, tribal leaders, condemn attack in DavNor village (By Che Palicte)
DAVAO CITY – Tribal leaders, the people of Kapalong, Davao del Norte, and the military condemned the atrocities committed by communist rebels in Sitio Tapayanon, Barangay Gupitan on Monday.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol scored the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for its “total disregard of human life” and performed “traitorous act of cowardice and treason.”
She also assured the public that the government will continue to “safeguard all Kapalongians against the desperate attempt of the CPP-NPA to terrorize innocent lives.”
Meanwhile, the Tribal Council of Sitio Tapayanon, via the Office of the Municipal Tribal Affairs of Kapalong, also condemned the CPP-NPA’s attack while calling for “legal action and justice for the innocent inhabitants of the sitio.”
1Lt. Amadeuz Celestial, 60th Infantry Batallion (60IB) civil-military operations officer, said barely two months after the NPA attack, it has launched another attack on the isolated Ata Manobo tribal community where troops are doing their Community Support Program (CSP).
“The 60IB’s CSP Team and members of the tribal community were going about their daily routine which includes village meetings, tending to individual and communal gardens, and the repair and rehabilitation of some houses and village facilities along with other community-building initiatives,” he said.
He added that the 60IB troops were able to immediately counter the communist-terrorists’ attack and protected the community during the 10-minute firefight.
Celestial also said that 60IB’s position was made even more advantageous by the close air support provided by the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 11 based in this city.
“Since the last attack in Tapayanon, the military and the villagers have become more vigilant, and 60IB has since leveled-up the village’s defense system,” he noted.
Celestial also said that no government troop or civilian was hurt during the incident.
Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento, 60IB Commander, reported that since the “discovery” of Sitio Tapayanon, several interventions — such as the initiation of sustainable food production and farming, health/medical and hygiene and sanitation activities, among others, have already been initiated by various agencies and benefactors.
“We are doing good and this is certainly hurting them (CPP-NPA). Because as we ‘slowly but surely’ rid of Tapayanon’s social, cultural, and economic poverty we are also ripping the CPP-NPA off an entire community and some generations of potential communist-terrorist recruits who they hope would continue to advance their evil intentions and ideologies. We shall persist in this fight and ensure that it will be our communities who will emerge the victors in the end,” Sarmiento said.
The CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.