CAMP EVANGELISTA, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, August 11 -- A total of 150 families or close to 500 individuals left their houses and livelihood when an estimated 20 NPA bandits swooped down their peaceful community at Nangkahon, an outskirt barangay of Opol town in Misamis Oriental, August 8, 2017.
According to the village chief, the New People’s Army (NPAs) went there to recruit new members and demanded food and money from her constituents.
"Nahadlok mi kay gapang rekrut sila og bag-ong miyembro sa ilang bandidong grupo. Isip chairwoman, dili nako gusto nga gaabusar sila sa akong mga tawo susama sa pagpangayo og pagkaon og kwarta."
(We are terrified because they are recruiting members of their bandit group. As leader of my community, I don't want these NPAs to abuse my people and demand food and hard-earned money from them), said Edita Ompok, chairwoman of Nagkahon.
The local government unit (LGU) of Opol and the Misamis Oriental Risk Reduction Management Council facilitated the support for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and have prepared the evacuation center to cater their needs.
MGen Benjamin R Madrigal Jr., 4ID commander said that this is another clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) because the NPAs have forced the people to support them that they have to leave their community. This is plain extortion and banditry.
"We assure our people of Opol and the nearby communities that we will do our best to address this lawless group," MGen Madrigal added.
Meanwhile, elders in that area and the adjacent barangay of Sitio Bitaog, Brgy Taglimao of Cagayan de Oro City, recalled the NPA's Operation "Ahos" wherein a total of 50 skeletal remains, including those of women and children believed to have been killed by the NPAs were discovered in their boundary on February 2000.
Operation "Ahos" is the NPA's term in cleansing their own ranks and supporters by killing those who are suspected government supporters. (4ID/PA)