“The ‘NPAs’ the Army is pursuing could be farmer-leader Aida Seisa and her family.”
ZEA IO MING C. CAPISTRANO
DAVAO CITY – The military on Sunday announced they killed three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Paquibato District here, but human rights group Karapatan condemned the killing as a “massacre” of three civilian tribal leader, village (purok) leader, and a resident, as well as an attempted murder of a woman farmer leader.
The three victims were identified Ruben Enlog, tribal leader (Datu) of the Ata Manobos in sitio Manipis, farmer Garyo Quimbo, and Randy Carnasa, a purok leader from purok 7.
In a press release, the Army said three NPAs were killed when soldiers of 69th Infantry Battalion (69IB), 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army were fired upon by NPA bandit group in purok 7, Paradise Embac village, Paquibato District, Davao City around 12:05 a.m. June 14.
The Army said they recovered one M14 rifle, two unexploded explosive device (IEDs) and backpacks.
Army Commander Lt. Col. Rodney Intal said that “they acted on the report from the local residents of the presence of armed group on extortion activities in the area.”
“After the incident, we immediately coordinated with local (national police) and (scene of the crime operatives) for their appropriate investigation and documentation. We are armed with warrant of arrest of these NPA personalities,” Intal said. The Army said there were wounded NPA members who ran to escape.
Hanimay Suazo, secretary general of Karapatan, however, said “the ‘NPAs’ the Army is pursuing could be farmer-leader Aida Seisa and her family.”
Suazo belied claims of the Army that they have killed NPA members.
“Aida Seisa, secretary-general of Paquibato District Peasant Association or Padipa, was talking with guests in her home in purok 7, Paradise Embac, Paquibato when an unknown number of military forces fired at them for over 30 minutes,” said Suazo.
She said Seisa was able to escape, along with her husband and two children.
“One of Aida’s daughter, who is 12 years old was also wounded in that attack and was left in their house,” Suazo said.
Suazo said Seisa’s residence was “cordoned by the military and the child was unable to get timely medical aid.”
“The corpses were then brought to the central area of the community. They were then photographed after guns and explosives were laid by their side, to falsely show that they were members of the [NPA],” she said.
Suazo said the incident came only a few days after a fact-finding mission was conducted in Paquibato by several concerned organizations.
“We have just wrapped up a fact-finding mission in sitio Quimotod in Paquibato, where we documented bombings and harassments of the populace by the 69th IB. A few days after, state forces massacred the civilians, adding up to their already long list of human rights violations,” said Suazo.