NPA Salutes Slain Cebu Nursing Graduate, Says Victim was Unarmed

The New People’s Army (NPA) unit in Southeastern Negros said that slain nursing student Rachelle Mae Palang was unarmed when elements of the Philippine Army killed her and two others.


The New People’s Army (NPA) unit in Southeastern Negros said that slain nursing student Rachelle Mae Palang was unarmed when elements of the Philippine Army killed her and two others.

In a statement sent through email, Dom Pantaleon, spokesperson of the Mt. Talinis Front Command, belied claims of the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army that what happened was an armed encounter.

Pantaleon said that Palang, as a reserve element of the NPA unit, was unarmed when a composite unit of 79th IB and elements of the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) attacked them.

The NPA spokesperson said that Palang (Ka Hannah), along with Federico “Ka Val” Villalongha, and Gerry “Ka Regan” Cabungcag were killed at around 1 p.m. of Sept 18. Pantaleon said the three just took a break from a meeting assessing the extent of their political work at the border of Dauin and Zamboanguita villages.

Pantaleon said that at the time of the raid, Palang carried no firearm. “Ka Val was armed with his standard M-16 rifle while Ka Regan was temporarily issued with a M-14 rifle. The third high-powered firearm recovered by the mercenary army from the site was an “issue” of one of the two other comrades wounded during the ten-minute firefight,” said Pantaleon.

Palang, 21, graduated from nursing at the Velez College in Cebu City. She was former vice president for Visayas of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP).

Palang’s father, Elenito, also denied claims that his daughter was found dead with a rifle. Elenito is a former municipal councilor of Consolacion, Cebu and a brother of Bishop Antonio Palang. Her mother, Sally, is a planning officer at their place.

Earlier, Cebu Provincial Board member Victor Maambong urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Maambong further said that granting that the students were engaged in recruitment activities and armed, the military should not disregard the rules of engagement.

“The military could have employed reasonable force to neutralize the inexperienced students, more so that they certainly outnumbered and outgunned the victims,” he said.

Maambong also believed that the military lacks transparency in reporting the real accounts of the killings.

Maambong resolution’s was co-sponsored by Provincial Board members Peter John Calderon and Juan Bolo.

Pantaleon said, “She was always there to offer her knowledge and skills both for NPA regulars and the peasant masses during her brief but meaningful exposure to Negros’ remotest parts. Along the way, she pleasantly discovered that often only-whispered truth – that the NPA’s integrative work among farmers to achieve both the minimum and maximum program for genuine agrarian reform is as urgent as the Red army’s ever-ready herbal concoctions and medical kit.”

The NPA further said that Palang or Ka Hannah, as ‘a medical professional trying to grasp just how the economically-impoverished thinks and acts, welcomed the humble and humbling lifestyle of the people and their genuine peasant-based army.’

Pantaleon described Palang as ‘a dedicated legal activist and nursing board passer who sought to better understand the most numerous yet most neglected sector in the country – the peasantry.’

Pantaleon said of Palang, “Aware of a situation where the country is the world’s number 1 exporter of nurses and number 2 exporter of doctors – even as millions of Filipinos die without ever being given medical attention – she was fiercely decided to prepare herself to become a doctor of, with and for the poorest of the country’s poor.”

Pantaleon said that Villalongha or Ka Val came from a peasant family and he was then an officer of the now-defunct Kabataang Barangay (KB) before joining the NPA in 1984. He said that Villalongha gradually rose to become one of the leading cadres of the Red army in Bohol, adding that Villalongha was among those who joined the June 1999 raid on the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) headquarters in barangay Rizal, Batuan town without firing a single shot.

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