Killing, destruction bare NPA identity as terror group: Army
BUTUAN CITY – The attack launched by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur on Thursday, which killed a civilian, injured two others, and destroyed millions worth of properties, shows their true identity as a terrorist group, ruthless murderers, and extortionists, a ranking military official said.
“What happened in Lanuza town manifested the true colors of the Communist Party of the Philippines -NPA - National Democratic Front. Their action affirmed their inclusion to the list of terrorist groups by the international community,” Brig. Gen. George L. Banzon, commander of the 901st Infantry Brigade, said in a statement issued on Saturday.
About 15 insurgents belonging to the Guerrilla Front 30 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee of the NPA, led by a certain Noel Tumarlas Alacre, alias Meagan, attacked the compound of the MR1 Construction in Purok 2, Barangay Zone 2 in Lanuza at about 9 p.m. on Thursday.
The rebels also fired upon responding police personnel, which led to a 30-minute gun battle.
The attack killed a civilian, injured two others, and destroyed two backhoes owned by the company.
“The destruction of civilian-owned heavy equipment that is not used for any military purpose was meant to pressure the companies to give in to the extortion demands of the NPA terrorists,” Banzon said.
In a statement on Saturday, Lanuza Mayor Anilao Dawog condemned the attack, describing the rebels' actions as barbaric.
“The brutal killing and the burning of construction equipment only shows disrespect and outright violations of the International Humanitarian Law and the Rule of Law,” Dawog said.
He added that the NPA rebels are “very eager to conduct extortion and do such atrocities and brutal measures whenever the people refuse to give such demand.”
Surigao del Sur Police Director, Col. James T. Goforth, likewise slammed the NPA rebels for the killing of Eldrin Daraman, the watchman of the company, during the attack.
“We are saddened for the loss of another innocent life. The person was performing his duty at the company when attacked and killed by the insurgents. The rebels also injured two other innocent civilians,” Goforth said.
In a separate statement, Brig. Gen. Romeo M. Caramat Jr., director of the Police Regional Office 13 (Caraga), condemned the “dastardly acts of the NPA who masquerades as protectors of human rights but terrorizes the business sector, as well as the local folks.”
The attack, Caramat added, would hamper the implementation of development programs and projects in the area.
He also appealed to communities to help government troops by providing vital information about the illegal activities of the enemies of the state.
“Investigators are preparing the documents for filing of multiple charges against the perpetrators. We assure the ends of justice will be served for the victims and their families. The NPA terrorists deserve to suffer the full wrath of the law,” Caramat said.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.