DAVAO CITY – Communist guerrillas allegedly killed more civilians than soldiers in Southern Mindanao, which is composed of the Davao provinces and Compostela Valley, in 2009, the military said in a report released Friday.
Captain Emmanuel Garcia, chief of the 10th Infantry Division’s public affairs office, said that of the 79 people allegedly killed in separate attacks by New People’s Army from January to December 17, 48 were non-combatants.
The civilian victims, Garcia said, included lumad leader Datu Leling Andresan, general manager of the Monkayo Ancestral Domain Management Office. Andresan was gunned down in August supposedly because of his dislike of the communist movement, Garcia added.
Major Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, which has jurisdiction over Southern Mindanao, said the targeting of civilians showed that the NPA has become a terror group.
“One of their policies is to instill fear among the people so that they can get their demands. They do not aim to win the hearts and minds of the people anymore,” he said.
Cabangbang said most of the civilian victims yielded some influence on their communities and they included lumad leaders and village officials.
“They wanted the people to fear them,” he said.
Cabangbang said even the relatives of NPA leaders were not spared from attacks as in the case of Evelyn Pitao.
Pitao was the sister of Leoncio Pitao or Commander Parago.
Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesman of the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command, said the execution of Evelyn was reached “after an extensive and meticulous investigation established without any tinge of doubt her direct and clear complicity in three state-instigated political crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement.”
Garcia said some of the victims were killed inhumanely with three of them dying from slits in the throat.
“One victim, who was stabbed, was tossed in a ravine. Two victims were shot more than 10 times where one suffered a total of 13 gunshot wounds,” he said.
Garcia said the presence of family members also did not deter NPA rebels from executing their targets.
Other civilian victims, he said, were even tortured before being killed. –Jeffrey M. Tupas, Inquirer Mindanao