CPP condemns 94th IB for illegal arrests, evacuation in Negros Occidental barangay
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today condemned the 94th Infantry Battalion for the illegal arrest of seven farmworkers in Sitio Medel, Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental yesterday morning. Local media reports that the seven were arrested after an armed encounter between the 94th IB and a unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the said barangay.
The seven were also physically assaulted after the arrest. They were identified as Pablo Abela Jr, Lito Abela, Angelo Abela, Alpredo Abela, Homer Liansing, Angelo Alejo, and Hendre Alejo.
“The 94th IB should be condemned for this atrocious crime! The seven are civilians and have rights that are protected amid the ongoing civil war,” CPP Chief Information Officer Marco Valbuena pointed out. “This constitutes a violation of the international humanitarian law.”
Valbuena pointed out that soldiers always vent their ire against civilians in their desperation to crush the NPA. “Kapag hindi nila mapatamaan ang NPA, sibilyan ang inaatake nila,” he stressed.
The NPA-South Central Negros confirmed that an encounter between its unit and the 94th IB took place yesterday morning. It added that another gunbattle erupted around 3 p.m. The local NPA unit said they incurred no casualties in the two incidents and that its unit was able to safely withdraw from the area.
After the second gunbattle, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 303rd IBde deployed no less than 3 helicopters, other aerial assets, artillery units and armoured personnel carriers. Soldiers shelled Barangay Carabalan at least eight times. This prompted community residents to flee their homes. More than 700 residents are now taking refuge in the town center of Himamaylan City.
“The AFP is wasting so much public funds in deploying its helicopters and howitzers against a small guerrilla unit of the NPA.” he pointed out. “The real objective of artillery shelling and display of superior military force is to instill fear among the population,” Valbuena stressed. “Pinapahamak nila ang sibilyang mga komunidad at populasyon. Iyan lang talaga ang gusto nilang gawin.”
Soldiers of the 94th IB continue to encamp at Sitio Medel and set-up check-points to profile people entering the area. Local media also reported that a rescue team supposed to bring the residents out of the site cannot enter Sitio Medel due to the heightened military restrictions.
“Residents of Barangay Carabalan need the help of human rights organizations and peace advocates amid brazen military abuses. They demand an immediate halt to intensified military combat operations which have harmed their livelihood and trampled on their freedoms,” Valbuena ended. (CPP Information Bureau)