RCSP unit of the 77th IB plagues the people of Cagayan

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For us, my child, you are far different from the army (AFP). Its different when you’re here because the wrongdoings (of soldiers) stop,” said Tatang Rebo, a farmer, while serving coffee to the Red fighters at his hut. Comrades has just arrived and were eagerly greeted by the people. Like in many places, the peasants consider them “children of the people.”

“Soldiers have no discipline. They are even instigators of misdeeds,” complained Tatang. He narrated his bad experience with the 77th IB troopers behind the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) in their village in Baggao, Cagayan. “Imagine, soon after arriving here at my home, they were looking for chicken to eat!”

A brawl between drunken “soldiers” a week after the elections remains talk of the village. “They were craving for alcohol just a few hours into the liquor ban. Even before they could put down their packs, they had gin bought and asked for pulutan (snacks to go with drinks)!” narrated Tatang.

“They could have at least helped pick corn as consolation for us serving them drinks. But nothing! Instead, they only get drunk and cause trouble in the village,” said ading (big brother) Makar, who joined in welcoming the comrades. The soldiers slaughtered not only the chickens and ducks of village residents, but even some pet dogs.

“Their behavior, my child, frighten us. They are drunk even at midday. What if they do worse than a brawl? What if they shoot each other? What can we do, especially with so many children around?” said Nanang Clarita. Residents can’t overcome their fear especially since the 77th IB has a long record of killings due to drunkenness. Just like in 2021 when two drunken soldiers shot each other within the battalion headquarters itself in Piggatan, Alcala.

Besides being drunks, the 77th IB is notorious for gambling. They vex residents with their noise when they gamble. They brazenly steal farmers’ food. They destroy property and small farm huts of farmers. Without care, they destroy cornfields, rice paddies and other farms in their operations.

They are also notorious with women. The town’s school teachers had the experience of soldiers forcibly entering their dormitories in the middle of the night. Their “courting” of young girls or minors is also widespread. They use girls as “text mates” and force them to regularly report NPA movements in the area.

The 77th IB troopers have been camping in the barangay hall, and sometimes in the school, for over a year under the veil of RCSP. They pay lip service to “increasing access to and delivering government programs” to rural and remote areas. But time passed and they contributed not an iota to the community.

In fact, residents got tired of being summoned by the military to “mini-meetings”. There were times when soldiers gather them for a supposed distribution of “relief goods” but residents were surprised that they were attending a “peace rally”. Without their consent, they were made to hold up placards, shout and burn flags while being photographed. “I just saw on Facebook, son, that I am now a surrenderee!” Tatang relates his experience.

“That’s why its good to give them a lesson, comrade!” Makar angrily stated. “I myself will guide you to where they can be hit. They position themselves high up. They use Facebook there as that’s only place where there’s signal. We can commando them there as no civilians will be hit. It’s also far from the houses. They are surely targets.”

Even Tatang and Nanang agreed with the suggestion.

From Baringkuas, Cagayan Valley’s revolutionary mass newspaper.

RCSP unit of the 77th IB plagues the people of Cagayan