By Media Mindanao News Service
(August 15, 1987 News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988)

DAVAO CITY (MMNS) – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of Region XI will recommend to Brig. Gen. Recina of RUC XI to disarm the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) elements in sitio Mapula, Paquibato District, this city.

The CHR decision was made after testimonies of survivors and relatives of ten persons massacred in sitio Mapula last August 7 hearing. The decision was further triggered by allegations of relatives that the killers still rove freely in the area.

Fiscal Benjamin Galicia, CHR chairman for Region XI, however said that he cannot give his assurance on the disarming of local militiamen not until the committee has conducted an independent investigation on the said incident.

On the other hand, the relatives of the victims have already submitted sworn affidavits of witnesses to the city fiscal against the CHDF who, they claimed are the perpetrators of the mass murder. They vowed to file charges against the assailants two of whom were identified as a certain Nonoy Gubat Dagsil and one Ablas Bualan. Other CHDF name were Bagayao, Dimapuno Mangud, Amora Dagsil, Mariano Makla, Gorto, Gutay, Tawan, Benansag, Doming, Otik and Gorio. Some 50 tohers who reportedly participated in the bloody carnage were not identified as they painted their faces with battery carbon solution.

In the same hearing, the victims decried ‘distorted’ radio reports tagging the civilian victims as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla killed in an encounter. Merlyn Purol, married, daughter of a couple who died during the massacre belied the claims of ICHDFs that guns were recovered from the site.

We seek the intercession of the CHR in order to reveal the true facts behind what happened in our place because of the numerous fallacious stories that are aired over the radio, the residents declared.

In retrospect, ten persons were killed and four others were wounded when suspected Ata CHDF swooped down sitio Mapula July 13 few hours before noon. Killed were Aurelio Hinggo and Jovita Hinggo, a couple in their 50s; Freddie Diagan and Rodolfo Alfetche, both chainsaw operators; Emma and husband Danilo Perami; Elsa Samihon, a polio victom and four year-old niece Leah Fernandez; and brothers Edwin and Armand GAbito.

Wounded were: Alma Hinggo and two-month old daughter, Riza; Ireneo Gabito and nine-month pregnant Lydia Bismanos.

All victims suffered gunshot and hack wounds. Ireneo Gabito, who was wounded in the left brow, identified the killers as ICHDFs. He emphasized that they were their acquaintances. Identification is possible because the incident took place in broad daylight, he added.

Wilfredo Hinggo, 25, son of the old couple slain disclosed that the Ata ICHDFs who attacked the village were armed with garand, carbine, Thompson and surit-surit. The men, around 15 of them allegedly aimed their guns at him but he managed to run.

Lumen Gabito, the sister of Armand and Edwin revealed that looting was the primary purpose of the ICHDFs in killing the residents. After they strafed our house, they took our clothes, cattles, pigs, carabao, chicken, including our kitchen utensils, recounted Lumen who fortunately escaped the bullets fired by the assailants.

Residents believe that the massacre was in retaliation of the attacked staged by the NPA July 9 in Barrio Balugo, a nearby sitio which left Datu Buhisan wounded and one Ata ICHDF dead.

After the series of attacks, a composite team of Scout Rangers and local ICHDF unit conducted an operation in the area. Two missiles rocked lower Mapula at around 4:30 pm of July 13. This event triggered mass evacuations of some 150 families to safety in nearby towns and barangays. An estimated 7,000 people from Lumiad, Guinobatan, Panialum, Riverside, Mapula were dislocated as a result of the intensive military operations in the area. (Media Mindanao News Service, News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988)

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