Philippines: New People’s Army punishes 41st IB for human rights violations against Tingguian people

NPA column

Ang Bayan, November 7, 2010

The New People’s Army in Ilocos-Cordillera Region (ICR) has dealt another heavy blow on the fascist enemy. Seven soldiers from Alpha Coy of the Philippine Army 41st IB [Infantry Brigade] were killed and five others were wounded in two back to back ambushes by Red fighters of the Agustin Begnalen Command (ABC-NPA) in the morning of October 30 in Abra. There were no casualties on the NPA side.

Seized from the reactionary troops were an M60 machine gun and two M16 rifles, ammunition and military documents.

The first ambush occurred in Barangay Lenneng, Baay-Licuan at 5:20 a.m. Four soldiers were killed on the spot in this ambush. After 30 minutes, three more soldiers were killed when Red fighters ambushed enemy reinforcements in Barangay Barbarit in the nearby town of Lagangilang. The scene of the fighting is only a few minutes away from the 503rd Brigade headquarters in Barbarit, two patrol bases and the advance command post of the 41st IB.

ABC-NPA spokesperson Ka Diego Wadagan said that the ambush was a punitive measure for the target military unit’s grave human rights violations against the Tingguian minorities. It was also punishment on the 41st IB for serving as protectors and security escorts of big mining companies. Currently conducting mining operations in the area is the Cordillera Exploration Co. Inc., the local subsidiary of Anglo-American PLC, the biggest and most destructive mining company worldwide.

Soldiers under the Northern Luzon Command’s 503rd Brigade have been relentlessly bombing and strafing civilian communities, perpetrating illegal arrests and detentions, torture and killings against the people of Abra, especially the Tingguian. The military has also been using day care centers, barangay halls and even the people’s houses as barracks. The barriofolk are commonly accused of being supporters of the revolutionary movement and their movements limited. Such intense militarization has paralyzed production and small-scale mining activities.

Elements of the 41st IB are deployed to areas with approved and pending mining applications, among them the towns of Tineg, Lacub, Baay-Licuan, Sallapadan, Dagioman, Malibcong, Tubo and Bucloc. There are at present 36 mining applications pending at the Mines and Geosciences Board-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (MGB-DENR). Already granted permits are Rio Dorado, Olympus-Pacific, Sulfotara, Magdaleno/Miguel M. Peña, Abra Mining Industrial Company and Cordillera Exploration Company Inc.

The latest tactical offensive launched by the NPA in Abra indicates the Red fighters’ heightened fighting will and capability and is a manifestation of the resolve of the revolutionary movement to fight along with the people of Abra against plunderers, landgrabbers, human rights violators and large-scale destroyers of the environment, added Ka Diego Wadagan.

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