By: Saul Pa-a
CAMP GEN. CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – Around 400 Mangyan families displaced by the military’s two-day offensive against the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA) are now given relief assistance in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.
Reports reaching this camp on Saturday said soldiers of the 76th Infantry Battalion (76IB), 203rd Brigade, together with the Mindoro police and some local government officials, are now distributing food packs, medicines and other basic necessities to the Mangyan tribespeople.
“Almost 400 affected IP [indigenous people] families who lived in the mountains were given relief goods and medicines after they seek shelters at the Barangays Loyal, Cristobal, San Antonio, and Villa Cerveza all in Victoria,” said Brigadier General Marceliano V. Teofilo, 203rd Brigade commander, who has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro Island.
The Mangyans were evacuated to safer grounds when military and police troops clashed with around 30 NPA members last July 3 in a subvillage in Barangay Loyal, Victoria.
During the government offensives, which lasted until July 4, an NPA squad leader –Mervin Malucon alias “Wally”– was killed and assorted weapons and subversive materials were seized.
“We are working hand-and-hand with the LGUs and the barangay officials here to give all the necessary support and assistance to ensure the safety and well-being of these evacuees who were affected by the NPA atrocities,” Teofilo said.
He said the Mangyans would be advised to return to their homes once the NPA threats are over.
Meanwhile, Victoria Mayor Joselito Malabanan, along with his team from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) and barangay officials, is conducting their relief operations.
Malabanan also appealed to the NPAs to spare the peace-loving Mangyan tribe from their day-to-day activities.
He also encouraged the insurgents to surrender and accept the government’s Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) offered to the rebel surrenderees.
A Mangyan tribal leader thanked the LGU of Victoria and the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro for the assistance. (PNA)