By Rene M. Belmonte, Jr. CMO, 403rd Brigade, PA
MALAYBALAY CITY: Ragtag New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists awoke folks Saturday night in San Roque and Santa Rita sub-villages of barangay Sinanglanan, Malaybalay City. The intruders were out for food.
At daybreak, most of the horrified folks fled. Some of them sought refuge to their relatives somewhere, but around 163 families are now cramped in an evacuation shelter at Malapgap Elementary School in Sinanglanan village.
Philippine Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Ferdinand Barandon said that these terrorists could be fleeing NPA elements from the beleaguered rebels in Gingoog battle area now.
He added that Sitio San Roque is near the Pantaron Range, the common border of Bukidnon and the province of Agusan del Sur, where NPA Guerilla Front Malayag under North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (GF Malayag-NCMRC) has been operating.
Leaders of Sitios San Roque and Santa Rita, in an interview, revealed that the NPAs forcibly recruited villagers by forcing each household member to listen to the Red’s propaganda as they discussed topics about socio-economic issues against the government.
Unconfirmed reports also said that the NPAs are meeting the residents at night, where they also conduct their force recruitment while collecting P5.00 and a half sack of rice in every household in the area.
The 403rd Brigade, meanwhile, reported that it has forthwith coordinated with Malaybalay local government unit that immediately dispatched relief assistance to the said evacuees.
The civil-military operations of 403rd brigade will lead in the succeeding medical and debriefing services for the evacuees, taking into account the health protocols that must be followed inside the evacuation centers while the government is now engaged in the war against COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
(Rene M. Belmonte, Jr. CMO, 403rd Brigade, PA, CMO 403rd Bde, PA/PIA Bukidnon/RSP)