ASUNCION, DDN – Barely two (2) months after the CPP-NPA attacked Sitio Tapayanon in Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, the same communist-terrorist group launched yet another attack on the extremely isolated Ata Manobo tribal community where troops of the Philippine Army’s 60th Infantry Battalion are currently conducting their Community Support Program (CSP).

The attack transpired yesterday morning while the 60IB’s CSP Team and members of the tribal community were going about their daily routine which includes village meetings, tending to individual and communal gardens, and the repair and rehabilitation of some houses and village facilities along other community-building initiatives.

As before, the 60IB troops were able to immediately counter the communist-terrorists’ attack and protected the community during the ten-minute firefight that ensued. 60IB’s position was made even more advantageous by the close air support provided by the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group 11 based in Davao City.

Since the last attack in Tapayanon, the military and the villagers have become more vigilant; and 60IB has since levelled-up the village’s defense system.

No government troop or civilian was hurt during the incident.

Kapalong Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol recently released the LGU’s official statement condemning the CPP-NPA’s “total disregard [for] human life” and “traitorous act of cowardice and treason.” Timbol, through the statement, also reassured the public that the government will continue to “safeguard […] all Kapalongians against the desperate attempt of the CPP-NPA to terrorize innocent lives. [And] strongly enforce President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 […] with bravery and patriotism.”

In a similar tone, the Tribal Council of Sitio Tapayanon thru the Office of the Municipal Tribal Affairs of Kapalong released Resolution 01-2020 which also condemned the CPP-NPA’s terroristic act while calling for a deserved “legal action and justice … for the innocent inhabitants of the sitio.”

Per 60IB’s assessment, the attack may have been a simple “nuisance harassment” meant only to scare the villagers and dissuade them from continuously supporting the government.

It may also be the retaliation of some splinter group of the CPP-NPA who has been taking blow after blow of defeats in these very boundaries where 60IB and other AFP units continue to relentlessly conduct their operations.

Recent government reports imply the serious degradation of the CPP-NPA’s forces with some whole Guerilla Fronts being categorized “weakened” or totally declared “dismantled” by the different AFP units.

“WE SHALL PERSIST IN THIS FIGHT.”

Meanwhile, 60IB together with the Local Government Units of Kapalong and Davao del Norte and their partner National Government Agencies continue to implement their respective development plans and programs for the village.

60IB Commander, Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento reports that since the “discovery” of Sitio Tapayanon, several interventions—such as the initiation of sustainable food production and farming, conduct of health/medical and hygiene and sanitation activities, enrolment to social welfare programs and emergency employment schemes, the establishment of a DepEd Extension (Annex) School, and the continuing opening of access/farm-to-market roads thru both local and national agency funding; have already been initiated by various agencies and benefactors.

“We are doing good and this is certainly hurting them [CPP-NPA]. Because as we ‘slowly but surely’ rid of Tapayanon’s social, cultural, and economic poverty we are also ripping the CPP-NPA off an entire community and some generations of potential communist-terrorist recruits who they hope would continue to advance their evil intentions and ideologies. We shall persist in this fight and ensure that it will be our communities who will emerge the victors in the end,” Sarmiento added.