OVER 300 families were forced to leave their homes in Barangay Pichon, Caraga, Davao Oriental on Tuesday, July 12, due to fear of rebel attacks.
The families left their homes after suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels fired at the local's Mannadu fighters while they were guarding their chieftain who received threats from the rebel group, the Army said.
Philippine Army 67th Infantry Battalion's spokesperson Lieutenant Miguel Diordia on Tuesday, July 12, said affected residents evacuated due to fear of more NPA attacks.
"Talagang tinotoo ng NPA ang banta nila na aatake sila sa sitio," Diordia said.
According to Diordia, the rebels targetted two of the Mannadu fighters but missed.
The attack caused fear among residents at Sangab and even from neighboring sitios.
"The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recorded 399 families who evacuated from their homeland already," Diordia said.
In previous reports, Diordia mentioned that the NPA sent an ultimatum to Sitio Sangab Chieftain Copertino Banugan to surrender his area.
The ultimatum, which was given on July 3, said the rebels will be forced to kidnap Copertino if he will not surrender.
A heavily-armed platoon of 50 soldiers along with the Mannadu fighters, who are also armed with high-powered guns, are protecting their area.
Sangab has earned its name after Banugan, a Likid or high datu of the Mandaya, managed to preserve and rejuvenate the Mandaya culture among all his people.
The sitio has been inviting interest from all over just to witness and experience how Mandayas make their intricately beaded and embroidered clothes.
The Sangab Mandaya Cultural Village that also houses its school for living traditions has had the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
But of late, there have been accusations against the Banugan’s leadership among the tribe, and the NPA came in.