Army Organizes Alsa Masa in Zambo Towns

Feb. 27, 2010

By Media Mindanao News Service

News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988 Posted by Davao Today

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE (MMNS/PNF September 30, 1987) – The Alsa Masa, a right-wing anti-communist vigilante group have been organized in three towns, a ranking military officer announced recently even as church leaders expressed apprehensions.

Capt. Nick Rosal, civil-military officer and spokesman of the 44th Infantry Battalion (IB) here said about 112 of the vigilantes from Jose Dalman, Sandigan and Manukan towns have already completed the basic indoctrination and military training sponsored by the battalion.

Rosal added that the Alsa Masa will serve as the military’s “first line of defense and offense” against the New People’s Army, reportedly very strong in the service among non-Moro communities.

In Manukan town, the vigilante group in a press statement warned they will be harsh on civilians known to be supportive of the rebels. The Alsa Masa in the said town is handed by one Romeo Equia, a former Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) commander who told the local media that he takes orders and instructions directly from the 44th IB.

Catholic priests and other religious leaders in the province meanwhile, raised fear that the formation of the vigilantes would merely increase human rights violations similar to those in their provinces where they are operating.

In another development, the Mindanao Area Command (MAG) (formerly Southern Command) reportedly ordered the 51 IB based in barangay Cogon, this city, to pull out immediately to the town of Naga, Zamboanga del Sur.

Reports said the transfer of the Army Unit followed the killing of a Muslim teenager, one Omar Dimaro. Residents claimed he was summarily executed but gave no further details.

Muslim leaders in the community are worried that the transfer of the 51st IB might deter the victims family from prosecuting certain elements held responsible for the slaying of Dimaro. (Media Mindanao News Service News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988 Posted by Davao Today)

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