DAVAO CITY—The New People’s Army belied Sunday that the three government troops killed in an ambush in Mabini, Compostela Valley last December 29, 2014 reportedly on a holiday break, saying that the troops were on combat operations at that time.
Daniel Ibarra, a spokesman of the NPA ComVal-Davao Gulf Sub-regional Command said the government troopers were set to deploy for a “clearing operation” in Mabini town.
Ibarra branded the Army’s Eastern Mindanao Command as a group of “spin doctors” in its attempt to cover up the real situation that transpired on the ground, which led to the death of First Lieutenant Ronald Bautista, Private First Class Albert Amor and militiaman Renel Baluca.
“Contrary to the lies and deceit of 10th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, Bautista and two other soldiers killed in the December 29 ambush were not preparing for holiday break but were geared towards full combat operations in Palali, Mascareg and Linaw and Darot,” Ibarra said.
“Bautista was not returning home to reunite with his family during the Christmas truce in Bohol, as claimed by the military spin doctors,” Ibarra said.
Army’s Lacambra, spokesperson of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said the three were onboard a motorcycle traveling in Candinuyan village for their holiday break when the NPA ambushed them in civilian clothes and unarmed around 9:45 a.m.
The NPA, however, denied the military’s claim saying they recovered a handgun and grenade when Bautista was ambushed.
Ibarra said that Bautista, who headed some 80 soldiers from 71st Infantry Battalion, and his troops “manned a military detachment in Barangay Anitapan, Mabini to conduct combat operations and witch-hunting of peasant leaders in Palali, Panamin and Mascareg even during the period of GPH truce declaration and Christmas holidays.”
According to Ibarra, it was a “unit of the people’s militia” who ambushed the government troops led by 1st Lt. Ronald Bautista, as he claimed “that such militia attack, despite the yuletide truce, was part of the guerrilla war of the masses campaign to foil the sinister plan of the 71st IB-10th Infantry Division to impose “no man’s land” in Mabini, Compostela Valley, specifically in the villages of Darot, Linaw, Mascareg, Palali, Manasa, Anitapan, Panamin and Candinuyan.”
The NPA said the government troops—the 71st Infantry Battalion and the 10th Infantry Division— are using a deceptive and sham peace campaign dubbed as Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) “to conduct clearing operations to pave the way for the destructive large-scale mining operations of Australian owned One Asia Resources in Mabini.”
Ibarra also bashed Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles for saying the December 29 ambush was a ceasefire violation.
He scored Deles for “peddling such a falsehood to discredit the revolutionary movement in an attempt to scuttle the resumption of the GPH-NDF peace negotiations and further muddle the substantive issues that should be resolved in the peace talks.”
Ibarra maintained that “December 29 ambush was clearly not in violation of any truce but a form of revolutionary justice to frustrate the PDOP and human rights abuses of a fascist Army unit which was also responsible for the cold-blooded murder of child peasant Roque Antivo in 2013.”
“It was a legitimate politico-military action by the masses that have long suffered and bore the brunt of fascism and economic dislocation as a result of foreign large-scale mining,” stressed Ibarra.
“One Asia Resources is one of the big foreign mining corporations that are financially backing up the 71st IB’s triad operations of noncombat, intel and combat activities in order to suppress the people’s resistance to large-scale mining and human rights abuses. One Asia Resources is hell-bent in pushing through with its exploration and exploitation in the area this year,” the NPA said. (Mart D. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)