BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The New People’s Army Apolinario Gatmaitan Command strongly debunked military claims it had dismantled the Northern Negros Front.
“The military’s statement is a lie since no guerrilla front or even an NPA unit in Negros has been destroyed by the enemy,” Ka Juanito Magbanua, spokesperson of the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command said.
This was the response of Magbanua to the statement issued by the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, that claimed that “no less than their own leadership” categorized the North Negros Front as dismantled “for failing to meet party standards”.
The South East Front of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor was also declared dismantled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Visayas Command last year.
Despite the intensified, focused, and massive military operations, Magbanua claimed that the party leadership continues to grow stronger, tactical offensives are being launched, the mass base is widened and deepened through the strengthening of clandestine mass organizations of peasants, women and youth, and the united front work among the middle forces and other sectors is broadening.
He also condemned the Philippine Army for the killing of Kerima Lorena “Ka Ella” Tariman in an encounter in Brgy. Kapitan Ramon, Silay City, Friday.
Lt. Col. J-Jay Javines, 79IB commander, disputed the NPA allegations and maintained that Ka Ella and Pabling died in a legitimate encounter.
He said that policemen of Silay carried both victims on a hammock, and traversed a muddy 3-kilometer sugarcane plantation just to bring them to the nearest accessible road, where an ambulance was waiting.
While Pabling died on the spot, Ka Ella was declared dead on arrival at the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay, Javines said.
“I will never allow my men to commit or tolerate any form of human rights violations,” he stressed. “If there are complaints, the 79IB will answer them in a proper forum,” he added.*