Fake encounter in Santa Catalina, a justification for militarization and plunder
The RMPC-NPA belies the 11IB’s claim of an armed encounter in Sitio Tuyopan, Barangay Talalak, Santa Catalina, Negros Oriental at around 2 AM on February 4. Contrary to the AFP’s statement, there was no NPA presence in the area at the time.
The supposed evidence of firearms and documents retrieved are but the same recycled trash akin to the AFP itself in an effort to solidify the illusion of a dismantled guerilla front in the area. Randy Iran, a farmer, was physically assaulted by state forces after the fake encounter.
In fact, there was only one encounter – in Sitio Bagtik, Barangay San Enrique Villanueva, Sibulan, Negros Oriental last February 3 at around 7 PM. A team of Red fighters exchanged fire with the enemy for 2 minutes and was able to maneuver safely after the brief gunfight.
To exaggerate the encounter and justify an enlarged military operation along with the PNP, the 11IB declared the fake encounter in order to control and threaten communities in the hinterlands of Santa Catalina, Sibulan, Siaton, Pamplona and Valencia where relentless military operations and hamletting set the stage for widespread land grabbing and displacement in favor of foreign projects and kickbacks.
Col. Salayo and his mercenary troops in the 11IB are doing the devil’s dirty work overtime to protect the interests of those that they serve, particularly Gov. Roel Degamo and his allies. The battalion is required to comply with its false declaration of an insurgency-free Southeast Negros, especially now that there is an influx of corruption-laden projects in Barangay Talalak and nearby areas. Spearheaded by the NTF-Elcac in cahoots with Degamo in the guise of ‘development’ and ‘infrastructure projects’, large-scale environmental plunder in favor of ecotourism and land-use conversion are underway in utter disregard of the rights and lives of farmers, farm workers, and indigenous people in the area.
Much like their commander-in-chief Marcos Jr., the 11IB are using disinformation and wanton brutality to suppress the growing resentment of the Negrosanons against military overspending amid the worsening socioeconomic crisis. Through RCSPs, communities are forced to surrender en masse as fake NPAs and to cooperate as local intelligence assets to sow fear and distrust in the population while also siphoning millions from the malfeasant E-CLIP. Unable to rule the old way, the state is unwittingly showing the masses that only the people’s democratic revolution can address their worsening plight under the moribund semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. ###