AT LEAST 38 families composed of 168 individuals in Abra have left their homes in Sitio Mong-ol, Barangay Maguyepyep, Sallapadan, according to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center.
The families are temporarily staying with friends and relatives after the New People's Army (NPA) attacked a nearby Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit detachment on August 15, leading to the death of two Citizen Armed Auxiliaries (CAA).
Civilian Auxiliary Dandi Waquisan of Lingey, Bucloc, Abra, was killed, while Gordon Gallao of Bazar, Sallapadan was declared dead on arrival at the Ducam Hospital in Dolores, Abra due to massive blood loss.
Both men were manning their posts in the morning of August 15 when the attack occurred, resulting in a 30-minute firefight with the remaining army auxiliary members.
A least 247 families or 920 persons remain affected by the armed conflict, with the 38 displaced families being monitored for needed assistance by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Residents in the area have identified a certain Mando Eduarte, alias Commander Trio, as leader of the attackers.
But Florencio "Ka Bram" Baluga, spokesperson the Agustin Begnalen Command NPA-Abra, issued a statement denying the NPA's involvement in the attack.
Baluga said the two fatalities shot each other due to lack of discipline, womanizing, and drugs. The Police Regional Office (PRO)-Cordillera, however, considered this as an affront to the heroism of Waquisan and Gallao.
Brigadier General Israel Ephraim Dickson, PRO-Cordillera director, said the attack was staged to terrify residents who supported a resolution declaring the NPA as persona non grata in the municipality.
Dickson said the denial of involvement is a ploy to avoid reprisals from the families and communities of the two murdered CAA members.
"This is also adding insult to injury to the family of the slain CAAs, and the intelligence of the people of Abra in order to clear their involvement to acts of murder and violence," Dickson added.
He said the NPA's support from the people continues to decline.