Military guarding dam killed in ambush with NPA in Panay

ILOILO City – A member of the 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army was reportedly killed after a series of ambush by the Jose Percival Estocada, Jr. Command of the New People’s Army (JPEC-NPA) in Central Panay morning of Sunday, February 21.

In a press statement by the JPEC-NPA, the fist attack was launched against members of the Philippine Army’s Peace and Development Team (PDT) around 8:12 in the evening of February 20 at the mini-market of Barangay Katipunan, Tapaz, Capiz.

The next attack happened at Sitio Kabagol, Barangay Aglinab, an adjacent barangay about 4 kilometers from Katipunan, against the reinforcement unit of the 61st IB where indigenous peoples in the area confirmed that a soldier was killed.

News People’s Army (NPA) in Central Panay since July 2015 has launched offensives against military and police personnel guarding the area of Barangay Agcalaga in Calinog, Iloilo where the Jalaur mega dam is said to be erected. The project has been stalled for two (2) years which supposedly started in 2013 due to strong opposition by local indigenous peoples’ Tumandok whose lives, land and livelihood are at stake./PT

“In his statement to the local radio, 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson Major Rey Tiongson tried to cover up for the casualty,” JPEC-NPA said.

The military group is part of the team that secures the area where the Jalaur mega dam is set to be constructed this April, the group added.

Before the incident, another harassment operation was launched by another unit of the JPEC-NPA against government troops operating in Barangay Cabatangan, Lambunao, Iloilo on January 17.

In 2015 two (2) sniping incidents have been also launched by another unit of the NPA against police forces guarding the Newington Co.’s barracks, the construction company that started the high-line and road construction to and from the dam site in Barangay Agcalaga, Calinog, Iloilo.

Indigenous peoples TUMANDOK have started opposing the project since 2011 during their 8th General Assembly and reiterated their stand during their 9th Assembly last January 2014 citing the perils and dangers of the mega dam to their lives and livelihood, eventually claiming their ancestral land./PT

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