DAVAO CITY – Five members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), including an alleged indigenous peoples (IP) recruiter, were killed in an encounter Thursday in Purok-8, Barangay Andap, New Bataan, Davao de Oro, the 10th Infantry Division (10ID) said Friday.
In a statement, the 10ID identified the slain NPA members as Chad Booc, Jojarain Alce Nguho ll (alias Rain), a certain alias Daday, and two still unidentified men.
Booc was one of the those arrested at the University of San Carlos (USC)-Talamban Cebu City in February last year for alleged trafficking of IP members in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
He was later ordered released, together with six others, by a local court in May 2021.
Booc, 27, graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a Bachelor of Computer Science degree.
The military previously said he was a recruiter for the NPA even during his student days.
After college, he volunteered as a Mathematics teacher at the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (ALCADEV) Lumad School in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, and later on at USC.
Nguho graduated from Liceo de Davao Tagum and was likewise a volunteer teacher at Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao, Inc. (CTCSM) in Barangay Lapu-Lapu, Maco, Davao de Oro.
Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III, commander of the 1001st Brigade, said the neutralization of Booc, proved that so-called IP schools like ALCADEV, Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc., Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, and CTCSM, are breeding grounds of the communist NPA.
“It is in these institutions where innocent IP children are being radicalized and influenced to take up arms against the government,” he said in a statement.
Durante called on parents whose children are still with the institutions to take action.
“Rescue your children immediately before it’s too late. Seek help from the authorities so that we can eventually rescue them,” Durante added.
After the 15-minute firefight between the troops of the 1001st Infantry Brigade and members of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, believed to be led by Eric Jun Casilao (alias Wally/Ellan) and Leo Lacumbo (alias Ole), soldiers also recovered an M653 rifle, a caliber-.45 pistol, one hand grenade, one anti-personnel mine, assorted food supplies, and personal belongings.
Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, commander of the 10ID, condoled with the families of the slain communists and encouraged the others to lay down their arms and abandon the armed struggle to avoid being killed.
“We have warned them multiple times to peacefully surrender to the government. However, they chose to resist to continue the bloodshed that resulted in their demise. Together with their former comrades, we again urge the remaining members of the CTG (communist terrorist group) to return to the fold of the law,” he said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)