By GENEVIEVE G. CANTOR,
THE NATIONAL Democratic Front (NDF) called the declaration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines of areas in Caraga region as çonflict manageable as face-saving measure to hide its failure to quell insurgency.
In a press statement, Maria Malaya, NDF-Northeastern Mindanao spokesperson said said the declaration of areas in Caraga region have been the national government’s way of covering up its failures in addressing the insurgency problem, especially in areas where indigenes have been killed and allegedly abused by the military.
“Mao nga gikan sa damgo nga ‘pagpuo’ gipakunhod nila kini karon sa ang pagka ‘manageable.’ Sukwahi sa gidahom sa kaaway, mapangahason nga gisuklan sa BHB (New People’s Army) ang kaylap nga pagpangatake sa mga tropa ubos sa 4th ID (Infantry Division) sa mga probinsya sa Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur ug Agusan del Norte,” Malaya’s statement reads in part.
Despite government troops’ recent attacks against their ranks, Malaya claimed they were able to parry the attacks by launching their own ‘tactical offensives.’
Butuan city, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur were declared as ‘conflict manageable and ready for further development on March 14.
According to Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, 4ID spokesperson, in the past, armed groups like the New People’s Army (NPA) have been sabotaging economic growth in the region.
He said they have caused destruction to lives and property by doing terroristic activities, and constantly deceive the people to resort to armed struggle.
He said the people of the province and Caraga deserve to enjoy the fruits of growth under a peaceful environment.
It can be recalled that just hours after the declaration, a column of NPA combatants attacked a platoon of government soldiers in one of the upland villages in Caraga.
According to 1Lt. Edgar Lemuel L. Adajar, spokesman of the 23rd Infantry Brigade, troops of Bravo Company of the 23IB conducted a security patrol and Needs Assessment Survey (NAS) in the vicinity of Sitio Bulak, Barangay Lower Olave, Buenavista town in Agusan del Norte at about 4 pm on March 14, when at least 60 fully-armed New People’s Army (NPA) fighters fired at the soldiers.