By Baretang Bikolnon Staff
Joint Task Force Bicolandia’s aerial bombing and strafing, August 13, resulted in the forced evacuation of about 200 families in communities at Barangay Lidong, Caramoan, Camarines Sur.
It was led by the forces of the 83rd IBPA and Philippine Air Force 9th under the 9th IDPA, along with other agencies under Joint Task Force Bicolandia. The formed task force aims to combine the military’s land, air, and naval capabilities and efficiency in sustaining peace and security, according to them, in the Bicol region.
However there were complaints among the affected residents. A radio station in Naga City received text message from a resident in Bgy. Dagang, Caramoan complaining that they were harassed by AFP troops. There was also a report that about 31 families evacuated at the covered court of Garchitorena municipality.
“Siguro nanibago lang an satuyang mga kababayan na nakailing sinda ng satuyang air assets na nagdedeliver ng close air support (maybe our fellow citizens were just unused to when they saw our air assets delivering close air support),” said Maj. Ricky Anthony Aguilar, 9th IDPA public affairs chief, over Bombo Radyo Naga.
Aguilar confirmed that there were two helicopters during the incident. He added that it was their message that their Joint Task Force Bicolandia is serious to end the insurgency.
According to NDF Bicol, they have resorted to aerial bombings “using indiscriminate and deliberate intentionally devastation” without thinking for the safety of the victims. The group added that it was part of the preparation for the Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council’s (RDC-RPOC) meeting to create the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELAC) on August 19-20 in Legazpi City.
“After the bombing, they even had the gall to make the masses look ignorant in their play to look philanthrophic and magnanimous in giving urgent aid to those they have bombed and to the alleged five wounded from the ranks of the NPA. aid, as if they are the saviors of the evacuees,” said Ma. Roja Banua, NDF Bicol spokesperson.
According to Aguilar, the soldiers were on patrol when they had a five-hour gun battle with some 50 rebels in Barangay Lidong on Tuesday around 2 p.m. Alleged five NPA fighters were wounded in the encounter.
Banua denied that there was an encounter. “The military made it appear that that there was an encounter occured between their forces and a unit of the NPA even if there was no unit of the NPA in theat area during that time.”
Meanwhile, the NPA – Tomas Pilapil Command is calling on all media outlets and human rights advocates to support Caramoans to bring to light the real scenario in the area to charge the 83rd IB and the Air Force of the Philippines over its terrorism in Caramoan town and its neighboring towns and prevent the widespread of human rights violations under MO 32 and EO 70. (BaretangBikolnon.com)