37th IB troops brutally assault civilians in Sultan Kudarat, 1 killed

This article is available in Bisaya

The NPA-Sultan Kudarat of the Mt. Daguma Sub-Regional Operations Command-Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) strongly condemns the 37th Infantry Battalion for indiscriminately firing their weapons last February 27 against civilians in Sitio 27, Barangay Sangay, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat.

The attack occured on the evening of Monday, February 27 as a group of four civilians were hunting for food near the community. The victims are as follows: Nasyon Gantangan, 30-years old and a father of three; Epin Dasol, father of one; and the two minors Waldo Lunon (16) and Verano Matilak (15). All were residents of Sitio Tinagdanan, Brgy. Hinalaan, Kalamansig. The attack resulted in the death of Gantangan and the wounding of Dasol.

According to one of the victims, they were walking down a major rural road, using headlamps. As they entered the residential area at around 7:28 p.m., they were suddenly fired upon by soldiers from the 37th IB who were operating at that time in the area. Before he was killed, Gantangan was able to shout “Sibilyan ni!” (We are civilians!) but the soldiers continued to fire at them. The troops continued to sporadically fire shots until morning.

According to family and friends who identified and recovered Gantangan’s corpse, his body was so riddled with bullets that his internal organs had spilled from his abdomen and his body was nearly torn in half. The perpetrators then planted a M14 assault rifle and carbin to justify his death.

This heinous act is nothing new for the murderous, mercenary and fascist AFP. On September 2020, the 37th IB similarly murdered two civilians near the residential area of Barangay Sta. Slara identified as Dino Limboy and a certain Macargas. On July 2022, soldiers from the 7th IB under the 6th ID murdered Kalesa Langgaw in Sitio Matingaw, Barangay Baluan, Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat. This is just a “tip of the iceberg” of the military’s atrocities against the people.

The impact of the latest attack goes beyond the immediate casualties. Due to the news of her husbands horrific death, Gantangan’s wife, who was into the third month of her pregnancy, miscarried. The two minors suffer from severe trauma, which includes uncontrolled trembling, screams and fear of leaving their homes. The entire community now lives in terror.

A survivor also reported that several civilian homes were ransacked and private belongings scattered. As a result, residents are afraid to walk into their community.

Under the guise of the AFP’s so called anti-terrorism military operations, the US-Marcos Jr regime justifies and defends the killings of civilians in the 2nd district of Sultan Kudarat. This is because these operations pave the way for multinational companies to enter the area for mining, logging, set up commercial plantations and other destructive projects. In the face of the AFP’s trampling on the people’s rights and dignity, the masses are pushed to rise up and defend their democratic interests and ancestral domains.

37th IB troops brutally assault civilians in Sultan Kudarat, 1 killed