GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The municipal government of Banga in South Cotabato has condemned the killing by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels of an unarmed militiaman in the area late last month.
Banga Mayor Albert Palencia strongly denounced the incident as authorities tagged the NPA on Monday as behind the murder of Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit or CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) member Jimboy Bansawan in Sitio Daisy, Barangay Derilon on Sept. 30.
Bansawan, 24, was reportedly on his way home to Sitio Ebenezer in Barangay Rang-ay when he was gunned down by unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen.
The Army’s 5th Special Forces (SF) Battalion and the Banga police station said the attackers were reportedly members of the Guerrilla Front 73 (Musa)-Far South Mindanao Regional Committee.
“This atrocious act committed by the CNTs (communist NPA terrorist) is an outright violation of human rights as they brutally killed an unarmed civilian on his way home. We deem this terror act as unacceptable as it provides a bad image to our municipality,” Palencia said in a statement.
He described Bansawan, who was assigned in the 11th Special Forces Company’s patrol base in Barangay Lamba, as a “loving father, son, brother, and a beloved constituent, and served to maintain the peace and order, and protect the people of Banga.”
The 5th SF Battalion said it has already provided the necessary assistance to the family of the slain CAA member.
1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan, 5th SF Battalion's civil-military operations officer, said their assessment showed that Bansawan’s murder appeared to be a retaliation by the NPA to the continuing military operations in the area.
He cited the recent encounters and the arrest of four NPA members at an Army checkpoint in Barangay Lamba, Banga last Sept. 12.
The rebels, who were aboard a motorcycle, were said to be carrying a grenade and an improvised explosive device with a mobile phone as a trigger mechanism.
Punsalan said the NPA has not yet claimed the attack on Bansawan but the circumstances showed their hand on the incident, as also noted earlier by Banga police chief Capt. Joseph Villanueva.
He said the troops assigned in the area are currently under heightened alert due to the busy months ahead as the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in December draws near.
“We’re urging the people to be more vigilant and report to authorities any suspicious movements in their areas,” he told PNA in a phone interview on Monday.
The municipality of Banga, as endorsed by its 22 barangays, was among the localities in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) that have declared the NPA rebels in the area and their cohorts as persona non grata.
Palencia urged his constituents to support the nationwide call to end the communist armed conflict “to reach the full development potential of our municipality and achieve genuine and lasting peace.”
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)