Agusan mayor, two Sarangani village leaders disarmed by NPAs

Jun. 17, 2014

DAVAO CITY – A mayor in Agusan and two barangay officials in Sarangani Province were reportedly disarmed of their firearms by the New People’s Army in separate incidents during the past two weeks.

In a statement by the NPA Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur (NPA-WANAS) Command, they claimed they raided the house of Carmen town Mayor Monching Calo on June 8 and seized five firearms including an M16 baby automatic rifle, one pistol, one Ingram and two shotguns.

Calo was reportedly in Manila during the incident.  His security guards were disarmed and were not hurt.

The NPA-WANAS Command said they took this action in response to the mayor’s alleged “militarist” approach in running the town of Carmen, Agusan del Sur.

“The people have complained about the mayor’s militaristic rule in this town,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the NPA-Far South Mindanao Command claimed the NPA Front 75 Mt.Tangali-Latian Sub-Regional Command briefly detained two officials of Barangay San Juan, in Malungon town of Sarangani Province last June 13.

The officials, Tirso Manambay and Baliota Tamalon, were charged by the NPA as military spies.

The NPA Far South Mindanao Command spokesperson Bayani Marasigan downplayed claims from the Philippine Army’s 1002nd Brigade that the two councilors were taken as human shields.

‘Contrary to what Capt. Rey Balibagoso, spokesperson of 1002nd Brigade Philippine Army claims, the two were not used as human shields. They were arrested and taken into custody because of their criminal offenses against the revolutionary movement. The guns confiscated from them are a strong evidence of their crime, making them in fact, legitimate military targets,” Marasigan said.

The NPA spokesperson said the two councilors were released and “given political consideration”; and they were also warned from further engaging in military work.

Both NPA units warned officials and the military from furthering “harassments” of civilians in rural areas in pursuit of the Armed Forces counter-insurgency campaign of Oplan Bayanihan.

The actions also come at a time the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command claimed the NPA is dwindling in strength.

The AFP 10th Infantry Division Commander General Ariel Bernardo in a radio interview claimed that since 2010 there were 881 NPA surrenderees in Davao Region. He added that the capture of top communist leaders such as the Tiamzon couple and NPA Visayas leader Erecre had demoralized the revolutionary armed group.

But the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the NPA, said the AFP have been faking the surrenderees by forcing village farmers to sign surrender claims or appear in military gatherings.

National Democratic Front Mindanao spokesperson Ka Oris said earlier this year that no NPA guerrilla front command in Mindanao has been dismantled since President Arroyo’s term, and has instead rose from 40 to 46 fronts in 2013.

Ka Oris also said the current fighting force of the NPA in Mindanao is “more than 10 battalions when concentrated”. (

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