Saturday, July 16, 2005

Palparan dares militants to denounce killings

Palparan dares militants to denounce killings

First posted 00:24am (Mla time) July 04, 2005
By Jani Arnaiz
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page A17of the July 4, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte -- Major General Jovito Palparan, commanding general of the Army's 8th Infantry Division operating in Eastern Visayas, has challenged militant groups in the region to denounce the killing of two soldiers and a woman in Basey town, Samar province on Tuesday.

Palparan said he had yet to hear the groups denounce the killings that he said was perpetrated by the communist New People's Army (NPA).

The slain soldiers -- Army Corporal Harry Cabonce and Private First Class Freddie Dapuya, both of the 83rd Reconnaissance Group based in Barangay Villa Aurora, Basey -- were among four soldiers and a number of civilians on board an Army-owned multicab when it was hit by landmines believed to have been placed by communist rebels.

A civilian, Nimfa Tagana, was also killed in the blast that happened at about 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday in Barangay Balente, about 2 km from the Army patrol base in Villa Aurora.

Palparan said the soldiers and the civilians were not on a military mission but just came from the town's public market.

"They (NPA rebels) pushed the button while in full view ... They sacrificed the civilians just to kill the two soldiers," said Palparan, who was here to receive the Outstanding Southern Leyteño award during the 45th founding anniversary of the province on July 1.

"I am challenging Bayan, Gabriela, Anakpawis and other militant organizations to denounce and say things against these activities of the New People's Army and the communist party," he said.

The groups, who have been accusing him of human rights violations, including civilian casualties during military operations, should also do the same about the incident in Basey, he said.

If they [do] not raise an outcry, he said, it would only solidify his belief that they and the rebels are allies.

Palparan said they would remain unfazed by Tuesday's ambush. He said the military has been gaining ground in its campaign against the insurgency in Eastern Visayas, particularly in Samar.