In a punitive action against the protector of environmentally-destructive capitalist incursions, Red fighters hit one of the elements of the 84th Infantry Battalion in a sniping operation in sitio Tabak, Brgy. Tawan-tawan, Baguio district, Davao City, on January 22 at 2 pm. The 84th IB withdrew two of its platoons and used as human shield Tabak’s tribal leader Datu Sito Saman.
The NPA offensive is only one of the many region-wide punitive actions in the last three days as the revolutionary forces escalate the campaign to protect the environment and against its plunderers.
The 84th IB has been raring to start full-scale offensive against the New People’s Army’s Guerrilla Front 54 Operations Command. During the temporary ceasefire on January 1, a platoon of soldiers forced the evacuation of poor, hungry residents in the village of Brgy. Tambobong; two days later, another two truckloads of soldiers and an APC arrived while seven days later, the fascist AFP troops were augmented with two more truckloads. On January 20, the fascist troops sneaked in at an NPA temporary storage area in Brgy. Tawan-tawan and stole 9 sacks of rice. They forced eight residents in sitio Tabak to haul off the stolen goods to the far-flung Brgy. Carmen.
Full-scale offensive military operations by some 15 truckloads of 84th IB-10th Infantry Division AFP troops scoured other peasant villages of Carmen, Manuel Guianga, Tamayong and Cadalian, all in Baguio district on January 14, or prior to the lifting of the GPH-NDFP ceasefire. The counter-revolutionary AFP operations were meant to protect the large banana and pineapple plantations in Baguio district that have wrecked Davao’s watersheds and have aggravated the impact of heavy flooding in the low-lying villages of Davao city since last weekend.
Forests of Baguio district, along with Marilog and Calinan districts were shaved off and laid bare in the yesteryears by the logging concessions of Alcantara and Sons, real estate magnate Consunji who owns the Sodaco, the Maguindanao Timber Corp owned by the Robillos, and the concessions of Luis Santos and Yuheco.
The renewed exploitation of agricultural lands in Baguio district included the boundary of the Mt. Apo protected watershed area, and the important water tributaries like the Davao river, Talomo river, Panigan river, Tamugan river and Suwawan river.
The rapid commercial crop expansion in the restricted environmentally critical water and watershed areas is the culprit of the heavy flooding in Davao’s low-lying plains. This is exacerbated with the hydroelectric dam of Aboitiz-owned Hedcor in the Tamugan-Panigan river and the MRC Allied Mining owned by Lucio Tan in the Marilog district.
Paving the way for the rapid capitalist exploitation of peasant hinterland villages of Davao city are the military operations of the 84th IB and tribal opportunist leaders or dealers like Joel Unad and the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples or NCIP that sell off large tracts of forestal areas for pseudo-reforestation projects. The reforestation scheme is merely a front for commercial logging abetted by checkpoints put up by the 84th IB. Recently, some 620 hectares have been sold in Brgy. Tawan-tawan, the nucleus of 84th IB operations.
It is the height of hypocrisy on the part of the AFP to project itself as defenders of typhoon Pablo victims and saviors of flood victims, when on the sly and in the main, it protects the destroyers of environment and oppressors of the people. Its Oplan Bayanihan Peace and Development Program act as bodyguards and goons of the environmental plunderers of Davao city’s poor third congressional district area where the city’s remaining watershed areas are found.