Army Bombs Panabo Villages, Residents Outraged

Apr. 23, 2007

Outraged. Manay residents Josephine Rebante (right) and Antonia Ayko (second from right) rail against the military’s bombings. ( photo by Barry Ohaylan)

In an effort to save face after Communist guerrillas raided the Davao Prison and Penal Farm, the military dropped more than a dozen bombs on villages in Panabo. When the smoke cleared, only a chicken and a tukmo were found dead. But the residents were furious at the armys grossly wrong and irresponsible action that put their lives in danger.

By Cheryll D. Fiel

MANAY, Panabo City — “After dropping 14 bombs in our village, we now ask the military how many New Peoples Army guerrillas were they able to kill?”

The question was indignant. And Dominador Cayetano, the barangay captain (village chief) of this village, had reason to ask it. After all, the bombing runs, which took place on April 11, put the lives of his constituents in danger and forced thousands of them to evacuate.

Cayetano went further: He belied claims by the military that members of the NPA had been sighted in his village, which was the justification given for the aerial bombings that the military said was a pursuit operations against the rebels who, days earlier, raided the Davao Prison and Penal Farm not far from here.

He also belied the claim that insurgents were actually killed. As far as they know, he said in an interview, only a chicken was killed in the bombings and it belonged to a resident who lived along a creek. The residents also found a tukmo, a kind of bird, in Purok 1, burned to death.

They did kill some tilapia in the river, the driver of a jeepney en route to Manay said in jest. also overheard habal-habal (passenger motorcycle) drivers talking that the militarys attacks in the banana plantations of Manay was a war without an enemy.

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