Human rights should be for everyone – to include civilians, rebels
This, the Acting 3rd Civil Military Operations (CMO) Battalion com-mander Maj. John Andrada pointed out, as he challenged militant groups to look into the abuses of members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
"As they claim that they are for the people, I hope that they would also probe and do corres-ponding actions on the abuses being done to our soldiers," Andrada said.
His statement refers to the killing of an Army detachment commander in Negros Occidental province very recently. Far from being a swift death, Staff Sergeant Efraim Bagonoc was brutally killed by members of the NPA’s KR-Negros’s North Negros Front.
Maj Andrada narrated that SSg Bagonoc, together with one CAFGU, left the detachment at around 3:30 p.m. of August 28 to go to Sentro Polopangyan, Bug-ang, Toboso, Negros Occidental. Along the road, Bagonoc was accosted and captured by six communist terrorists pretending to be elements of the PNP-CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) on board a red van. Subsequently, an estimated 20 NPAs wearing Philippine Army uniform on board a sugarcane truck accompanied the red van as it made its way to the detachment.
Bagonoc was taken back to his detachment by the men in the van and was held hostage in front of his camp to gain entry into the detachment by pressuring the remaining defenders to surrender.
The rebels speedily ransacked the bunkhouses one by one and caught five CAAs Ariel P Solitario, Gerald D Aporado, Jemar R Villanueva, Jigar B Agabon, Vicente Libradilla and Efrailyn, Bagonoc’s 14-year old daughter who happened to be visiting her father.
As the rebels were busy collecting their loots, they ordered the CAAs and Efrailyn to drop on the ground.
At that juncture, Bagonoc desperately tried to break away from his captors but two communist terrorists shot him on the body. When he fell on the ground, another rebel finished him off using a caliber 45 pistol on the head of her father. Her daughter Efrailyn witnessed the execution of SSg Bagonoc as she was on the ground. The NPAs then started pouring gasoline to most of the bunkhouses and burn the detachment.
"Surely, what the communist terrorists did was more than enough for us to say that human rights were clearly violated," Andrada said. Yet, despite the severity of what happened, militant groups like Karapatan, Bayan, and the likes have remained tight-lipped in reproving the incident, he added."This time around, I hope that they would show the people that they are there for everybody and not just to be critical to the government and our soldiers," the Acting 3rd CMO battalion commander added.
During the incident, it was gathered that two Army CAA (Cafgu Active Auxiliary) were also wounded. They were in the line of fire before leaving. SSg Bagonoc was indiscriminately shot. The rebels set the camp on fire before leaving.
Earlier, 3ID commander Major General Vicente Porto said that incident again proved that the NPA, through perpetration of a heinous crime against the Filipino people showed they’ve wanton disregard for human life. Taking action of the incident, Major General Porto reminded all his unit commanders to conduct active defense and security operations to deny the Communist Terrorist Movement the chance to conduct tactical offensives such as this.
He also directed them to remind all operating troops and CAA units to be very vigilant of any possible enemy ploys such as posing as friendly forces to be able to gain access to military camps/facilities and eventually pursue their planned atrocities in Panay. The NPAs have resorted to abusing civilians to the extent of stealing another person’s food. /MP