JUSTICE SERVED. Datu Rico Maca, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, says the death of New People’s Army leader Noel Alacre has brought justice to all the victims of NPA atrocities in the province, especially among the tribes. The IP leader also hailed the efforts of the Army and the police for pursuing the group of Alacre that resulted in his death. (Photo courtesy of Rico Hayahay Maca Facebook Page)

BUTUAN CITY – The recent death of New People’s Army (NPA) leader Noel Alacre gives justice to indigenous peoples (IPs) who fell victims to the cruelty of communist insurgents in Surigao del Sur, an IP representative said Tuesday.

In an interview, Datu Rico Maca, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of San Miguel town, said Alacre and his men were responsible for the killing of several IP leaders and members in the province.

“I could no longer count the number of IP leaders and members, particularly from the Manobo tribe these NPA rebels have killed for years,” Maca said.

He cited the killing of 73-year-old Datu Bernandino Montenegro Astudillo, the tribal chieftain of Barangay Magroyong, San Miguel.

Astudillo, along with another IP member Zaldy Ibañez, 52, were stabbed to death by NPA rebels on March 19, 2020, in Barangay Magroyong.

“It was Alacre’s men who killed Astudillo and Ibañez. They even admitted it in a statement they released a few days after committing the murder,” Maca said.

He described the NPA rebels under Alacre's command as “notorious criminals who treated the IPs in Surigao del Sur as wild animals.”

“Remember what they did to Marvin Alimboyong Caling, who was shot several times by the NPA rebels while tending his hogs on his farm in Barangay Carromata, San Miguel, on September 9 this year,” Maca said.

On Sept. 15, military and police personnel pursued Alacre's group for the burning of four motorcycles in Barangay Mahanon, Tandag City.

The government troops tracked down the group and forced Alacre and his men to cross the Tandag River despite the heavy rains and strong water currents.

On Sept. 16, Alacre’s body was retrieved along the riverbank in the Maitom area.

Before his death, Alacre was the commanding officer of Platoon 2, Weakened NPA Guerilla Front 30, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.

He was active in the recruitment of IPs, especially the youth in the province, the military said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The National Democratic Front was formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)