DAVAO CITY – Communist rebels honoured two of its fighters who were killed in clash with government troops in Davao Oriental’s Cateel town in southern Philippines. One soldier was slain and 3 others wounded in the fighting, said the New People’s Army rebels on Thursday.
Roel Agustin II, a rebel spokesman, said NPA forces attacked military posts and overran them in the village of Aliwagwag. The weekend raid, he said, caught the soldiers of the 67th and 72nd infantry battalions by surprised.
“An M14 automatic rifle and several military gears were seized by Red fighters while one enemy was killed and three others were wounded during the firefight. Two Red fighters, including Patrick Simeon, were martyred during the engagement,” he said.
The 20-year old Simeon was a youth activist in Metro Manila before he joined the NPA in 2014, Agustin said. “The NPA in southern Mindanao region and the revolutionary movement in the region confer highest honours to the two Red fighters who had bravely given their lives to the cause of the national democratic struggle,” he said.
Agustin said the raid was a punishment against the soldiers for their alleged human rights violations. He also assailed the provincial government’s tourism program in the town that displaced hundreds of poor families and natives from the area to pave the way for the development of Aliwagwag Falls.
“It has displaced hundreds of peasant and Lumad families in Aliwagwag and adjacent villages in the towns of Cateel and nearby Compostela. In the name of the deceitful development program, farms and communities were adversely affected to give way to the privatized tourist destination spots,” he said.
There was no immediate statement from the military on Agustin’s allegations. The NPA has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)