Downright cowardly

Mayor Sara condemns NPA attacks

MAYOR Sara Duterte yesterday condemned the burning of heavy equipment by the New People’s Army in three different villages of Davao City on Black Saturday.

“The attacks were downright cowardly and indicate that the NPA is nothing but a terrorist group that deserves our collective rejection and condemnation,” Mayor Duterte said. “The NPA’s revolution is one designed to undermine our democracy and development through its brand of egregious violence and extremism.”

The construction of roads in Barangay Callawa in Buhangin, Barangay Fatima in Paquibato, and Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan are now temporarily stalled because of the attacks.

These road projects are being done by the City Government of Davao and the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to end the condition of chronic poverty in the said areas.

“The road projects could make the delivery of other basic services to the people faster — including health, education, agricultural development and livelihood,” the mayor said. “The said projects could change the lives of the people for the better.”

“The fresh atrocities reveal that the terrorist group only truly intends for people to continue living in a condition of poverty, which they could use as a capital in their propaganda against the government and to justify their presence in the communities where their influence and significance are waning,” the mayor said.

“And while at it, it is worth noting how this group’s recent attacks were also carried out as a retaliatory action to the refusal of the construction companies involved in the projects to give in to the pressure of extortion by the NPAs.”

The military and the police have already been tasked to conduct appropriate actions regarding this.

“Let me reiterate my previous appeal to the people of Davao and to our partners in the peace and development movement— let us support our soldiers and police and let us openly condemn NPA as a terrorist group,” the mayor said.


Strongest way

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza also condemned “in the strongest way the senseless destruction of heavy equipment.”

“The fact that the three consecutive attacks happened during the observance of Holy Week all the more angers us,” Dureza said.

“This unnecessarily squanders whatever gains we have been quietly getting lately in our common efforts with the CPP/NPA/NDF leadership to achieve just peace through the negotiations table,” the country top peace negotiator said.

“As we have been emphasizing, the presence of an enabling environment will be the sole determining factor for the resumption of peace talks. We are therefore saddened by the consequent setback these attacks bring to our efforts,” Dureza said.



Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, the director of Police Regional Office XI, said the attacks once again showed that NPA’s “terroristic nature by attacking unarmed, helpless civilians.”

“Those were not military targets,” Gaerlan said. “Those were not involved in any military operation.”

He said the NPA doesn’t care about the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights (CARHRIHL) that they agreed.

The CARHRIHL mandates that civilians, especially those working for projects intended to the public, should not be attacked, Gaerlan said.

The police regional director said they received an intelligence report that communist group planned to attack military and police targets before its March 29 founding anniversary.

“But they were unsuccessful and could not carry out their plan; hence, they attacked the construction companies,” Gaerlan said.

He said the NPA doesn’t want President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

“They want burn, burn, burn,” he said.



Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum said they are preparing charges against the perpetrators.

Tagum said some witnesses were able to identify some of the attackers.

“We have information already gathered that came from the barangay officials in the area,” Tagum said.

He said the refusal of the contractors to give to their extortion demand was the reason for the attacks.

“Because their demand was not granted, they burned (the equipment),” Tagum said.