Troops, rebels clash in Lagonglong town

TROOPS of Army's 58th Infantry Battalion clashed anew on Wednesday with New People's Army (NPA) rebels believed to be the ones responsible for the attack on Binuangan town’s police station last December 3.

Captain Norman Tagros, 403rd Infantry Brigade civic military operations officer, said the clash took place in Sitio Kapatagan, barangay Umagos, Lagonglong town, Misamis Oriental at about 11:10 a.m.

Tagros said troops were able to recover 2 high-powered firearm, an M16 and a World War II era Garand rifle.

No casualties were reported on the government side, Tagros said.

Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, 4th Infantry Division (4ID) spokesperson, said they have been monitoring the NPAs through the civilians.

"This goes to show that the communist terrorists have no safe place to hide. Sooner or later, they will either be arrested or get killed and wounded by our troops. The only option now is to surrender and choose to live peacefully," Martinez said.

Meanwhile, farmers are denouncing the threats and harassment allegedly perpetrated by the military, following President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown order on militant groups.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Northern MIndanao condemned the increasing number of threats targeted among leaders of farmer groups fighting for land rights.

Ireneo Udarbe, KMP-NMR chairperson said, martial law which is set to end December 31 this year, should not be extended again as this puts farmers' lives at risk.

In a data gathered by human rights group Karapatan-Northern Mindanao, 40 cases of threats, harassment, and intimidation have been recorded from January to November this year.

Last December 3, Karapatan said, Saturnino Tambajoyot, 50, an active leader of the Misamis Oriental Farmers Association (MOFA) was invited by the military in the barangay hall to supposedly "clear his name".

Karapatan said he was asked about his involvement in protest actions. Wilson Anglao meanwhile, campaign officer of Karapatan, was also threatened repeatedly that a case will be filed against him.

An envelope containing a black ribbon with a note saying, "you only have three days to live" was received by Noli Redundo, chairperson of the Balingasag Farmers Association, while Arturo Colao and Roger Plana, MOFA community organizers, were visited by soldiers in their houses and were asked many questions.

In Bukidnon, Welhilmino Aspinar, vice chairperson of the Hugpong sa Mag-uuma ug Mamumuong Panguma sa Sinangguyan in Don Carlos Bukidnon, was arrested last December 2 by 30 Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) elements. He was accused of killing a lumad in the area, Karapatan added.

"Imbes nga suportahan pa ang mga mag-uuma kay mao kini ang tigmugna sa pagkaon sa katawhan, pagpatay ug pasismo na hinoon ang giduso sa rehimeng US-Duterte. Mas gipalabi niini ang langyaw'ng plantation, mina ug kasabwat niini nga oligarkiya (Instead of supporting us farmers, killings are what the US-Duterte has been pushing. He prioritizes expansion of plantation, mining, conniving with oligarchs)”, Udarbe added.

"Ang panawagan sa KMP mao nga, ihunong na pagpamatay sa mag-uuma, ihunong ang tinumo-tumong kaso sa mga mag-uuma, ihunong ang Martial Law, ibalik ang Hisgot Kalinaw ilabina sa hisgutanang Tinuod nga Reporma sa yuta ug nasudnong industriyalisasyon (The KMP' called on to stop the killings of farmers, stop trump-up charges, stop the extension of martial law, and resume the peace talks),” Udarbe added.
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