26 families flee village after threats by rebels

TWENTY-SIX families comprising 77 individuals are still staying in the evacuation center after fleeing their homes in Barangay Cagawasan, Kibawe, Bukidnon on Saturday over alleged harassment by the New People’s Army.

Capt. Norman Tagros, the civil-military operations (CMO) officer of 403rd Infantry Brigade, said the 77 individuals sought shelter in the municipal hall compound of Kibawe starting on Saturday.

“Accordingly, they will not go back to their homes without the assurance of security,” Tagros told TIMES yesterday.

For now, Tagros said the 88th Infantry Battalion is still coordinating with the local government unit of Kibawe to take care of the needs of the evacuees.

Cagawasan Punong Barangay Roland T. Perequitte claimed that the communist rebels started threatening them after they reiterated their support for the military and the government.

“We do not want to be exploited by the NPA anymore,” he said, adding that they were used as couriers by the rebels, and also told to monitor movements of the soldiers in their community.

“Most importantly, we do no not want to be bothered by their presence. They are now accusing us of being military informants and threatening to murder us,” he added.

Meanwhile, the 88th Infantry Battalion is closely coordinating with the LGU of Kibawe, particularly the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Municipal Police Station, to address the immediate needs of the Internally Displaced Persons.

In a statement, Brig. General Eric C. Vinoya, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, criticized the NPA for harassing civilians.

“The Communist NPA terrorists are already desperate in their desire to win the support of the people and it is very unfortunate that they are resorting to violence,” Vinoya said.

“While their leadership said that they would attack the military and promised to kill one soldier a day, in reality, they are attacking the innocent and helpless civilians and Lumad leaders. This incident in Kibawe, Bukidnon is another manifestation of this terrorist organization’s gross disrespect to the Filipino people and we will not allow that,” Vinoya said.

The brigade commander has already directed the 88th Infantry Battalion to do all necessary measures to ensure the security of the community.

 

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