Army hits NPA for attack in Davao Sur

“The NPA staged the attack to show to their supporters that they are still a
force to reckon with,” he said in a radio interview.

One soldier was wounded in the Aug. 20 attack but the wound was not fatal,
Tan said, adding the NPA suffered one casualty whom he identified only as
Polpol, reportedly a top ‘amazona’ (female NPA warrior).

The NPA statement admitted the rebels attacked on Aug. 20 a team of the 39th
IB in Sta. Cruz town to punish them for their alleged human rights
violations against local residents.

The NPA also killed Ronald Bregente whom rebel spokesperson Ricardo Fermiza
accused of spying against them and “pimping minors” for prostitution.

“The people in Davao del Sur and North Cotabato are aware of the long list
of war crimes perpetrated under the command of the 602nd Brigade-AFP.
Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have been
committed as they conduct regular and special military operations in the
countryside and even at the heart of the towns or cities,” according to
Firmeza.

The NPA accused the military of forcing residents, mostly farmers, from
barangays Coronan, Zone 1 and Astorga in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur to
surrender.

“The military had accused them as NPA members, claiming that they have
evidences to prove their allegations,” Fermiza said.

Last August, some 50 farmers surrendered to the 39th IB near the barangay
hall and a school in Barangay Coronan in Sta. Cruz.

Tan countered he sent his men to Barangay Astorga in Sta. Cruz to secure a
group of local government employees who were tasked to distribute planting
materials and free farming inputs to farmers whose plants were destroyed by
aphids.

“But when the soldiers proceeded to the area they were attacked. Why would
the NPA prevent the government troops to help the poor farmers in Sta.
Cruz? Isn’t that a human right violation also?” he asked.

Tan also denied Bregente was with the military.

“Bregente was not even a member of the Army. He was a seaman who ran a
refreshment and videoke house in Sta. Cruz,” he said.

The Army official claimed the killing came three weeks after Bregente had a
heated altercation with a costumer who was alleged to be a top local NPA
leader.

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