THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were responsible in the killing of a tribal leader in Bukidnon on Saturday morning, January 4.
In a statement on Saturday afternoon, the Philippine Army, 8th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division identified the victim as Datu Sammy Diwangan, 45, an Indigenous People Mandatory Representative.
Around 9:15 a.m., Diwangan, along with his son John, 9, was approached by four armed rebels in Barangay Canaangaan, Cabanglasan in Bukidnon and shot him in the forehead and several parts of his body.
His son was able to flee from the attack.
The military said Diwangan is a strong leader in his community who is against the NPA infiltration and recruitment.
It said according to a rebel surrenderee, who is a commander of the Sentro De Grabidad Thunder of Guerilla front 6, they have been planning to neutraliuze Diwangan long before as he was preventing them from executing their mission in expanding their group in the said barangay.
Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Illana, commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion, condemned the attack which he said was staged by members of the NPA of guerilla front Malayag.
“We condemn this barbaric act of the NPAs against a helpless civilian who works for his family and community. This act is a clear manifestation of their evolution into a terrorist organization,” he said.
Government representatives and communist leaders have earlier signed a ceasefire agreement during the holiday season particularly from 12 a.m. of December 23, 2019 until 11:59 p.m. of January 7, 2020. (SunStar Philippines)