DAVAO CITY — The military and local government unit lambasted the New People’s Army (NPA) over the killing of a 10-year-old boy last June 25 in a remote area in Davao Oriental.
Speaking to reporters in Wednesday’s AFP-PNP Press Conference at the Royal Mandaya Hotel here, Lt. Col. Jake Obligado, commander of 67th Infantry Battalion based in Davao Oriental described the killing as “brutal and pure murder”.
“The NPAs did not give any warning and disregarded the presence of civilians inside the house when they attacked,” Obligado said.
Reports said that early morning on Sunday, June 25, around 12 fully armed NPA rebels led by a certain Alias Xander of the Pulang Bagani Command 8 strafed and burned down the house of Emmanuel Matilac in Barangay Pacifico Moralizon, Sobrecarey, Caraga town.
Matilac has been suspected by the NPA as a military informant in the area.
Killed during the attack was Justin Padao, 10 years of age who was inside the house when attacked and strafed by the NPA rebels.
Padao sustained 10 gunshot wounds that caused his instant death, the report said.
Five civilians were also injured during the attack, identified as Pedrito Acaso, Renato Acaso, Charito Silongan, Julito Basta and Emmanuel Matilac.
“The NPAs are no longer idealistic as they disrespect the human rights of civilians. They do not follow the rule of law,” Obligado said.
He said that the Peace and Order Council and the Provincial Board in Davao Oriental already released a statement that condemned the NPAs for the attack.
Obligado said the NPA rebels did not care about the lives of civilians inside the house and carried on with their objective to pin down the owner, Matilac, whom the rebels believed as a military informant.
“It was the indiscriminate firing that killed the boy,” he pointed out.
Residents in the area, Obligado added, now want justice for the death of Padao.
Obligado also took note of the decreased NPA activities in the area of jurisdiction of 67th IB since the termination of peace talks last February 2017 up to the present.
The battalion covers most of the towns in Davao Oriental and part of Surigao del Sur.
A total of 30 NPA rebels already surrendered to the 67th IB since February this year; three were killed in encounters during the period, while others were captured.
Those who recently surrendered, Obligado said, were new recruits and are members of the indigenous people in Davao Oriental.
“Most of those who surrendered complained of hunger, hardships, and fear while with the NPAs in the mountains,” he said.
Obligado emphasized that more NPA members are expected to come down and surrender as the provincial and local government units in Davao Oriental, with the support of the army and various line agencies, have intensified its programs and services in the countryside and far-flung communities. Alexander Lopez/PNA-northboundasia.com