TAGBILARAN CITY, May 29 (PIA)--Top Bohol Army Special Forces officer here downplays claims of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Bohol that they attacked a military detachment in barangay San Roque Mabini.
Army Deputy Brigade Commander Colonel Arnulfo Matanguihan, at the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Meeting, clarified that the military hardly felt the alleged attack which NDF Bohol claimed as a tactical offensive acting as a warning for the unit in Mabini, Bohol.
In its press statement entitled "Pakusgon ang Armadong Rebolusyonaryong Pagpakigbisug sa Bohol ug Ilunsad ang Dugang Mga Taktikal nga Opensiba" (Strengthen the armed revolutionary struggle in Bohol and launch more tactical offensives), NDF liaison officer for Bohol Island Jose Ignacio dated May 18, claimed the members of the New People's Army fired at the Philippine Army and Civilian Armed Forces for Geographical Units (CAFGU) detachment in San Roque, for alleged various human rights violations.
The Commission on Human Rights in Bohol however negated the claim that the army had human rights violation cases and in fact stated that it is the Communist Party of the Philippines New People's Army National Democratic Front (CNN) which has a pending complaint lodged in their office.
On the alleged attack, Col. Matanguihan said "Wala kaming naramdaman sa detachment." (We did not feel it from the detachment.)
He added that they might have heard some shots, but did not mind them as there was a feast celebrated nearby and fireworks could have been used, Col. Matanguihan told PPOC members.
The CNN in Bohol, according to military intelligence sources, has been continuing its recovery efforts in Bohol in order to regain its former mass bases for the revival of armed struggle in the province.
It has used its legal fronts which the military called "white area committees" to reconnect with their former mass base and strongholds in preparation for the return of their armed comrades.
It may be recalled that the armed rebels fled Bohol years ago when the island was ready for development after the government declared it "insurgency free."
The hard life experienced by the rebels outside Bohol and the forthcoming elections, the overflowing cash from the government assisted disaster rehabilitation as well as from international donors made them take a second hard look at going back to Bohol, according to military sources.
However, their usual methodologies are not working well, declared Col. Potenciano Camba, batallion commander of the Army Special Forces here in Bohol.
The military ascribes the rebel's failure to take control for the intensified socio-economic development program of the provincial government particularly CDP-PPM in the hinter barangays where primary and secondary issues are still present.
The government operatives also said Boholanos are already enjoying the peace and development conditions in the province.
The army also said the military has no recorded human rights violations abuses in recent years, which makes raising the usual issue of military abuse useless, Col Camba said.
Moreover, in Bohol, the spirit of “bayanihan” and convergence of stakeholders has become phenomenal in providing services to the people and in facing various challenges that affect the province that poverty and issues are quickly addressed.
But, hell bent on forcing their presence in Bohol, the NDF may have to double up and use whatever propaganda they can muster, if only to project that they are back, and sow fear among communities, an observer on the movements in Bohol explained.
In the NDF press statement, they claimed that they attacked the San Roque detachment on March 15, at around 11 in the evening.
Propaganda wise, they could easily say that, but, according to Col. Matangguihan. "it will take more than just a few gunshots to change the status of Bohol as insurgency free. (rac/PIA-7Bohol)