Army ‘militarizes’ Mt Prov town; locals not allowed to attend wake

>> Tuesday, August 7, 2018

By Gina Dizon

BESAO, Mountain Province – The Philippine Army has “militarized” this town following clashes between the New People’s Army and government troops wherein three soldiers died recently in encounters between the two contending groups.  
Following complaints of not being able to move freely, farmers here in this war-torn village of Dandanac have been given safe conduct pass by the PAstationed here to enable them to harvest their overly matured rice plants.
Mayor Johnson Bantog said 72 farmers were given safe conduct pass especially to those who have  farms located a far distance from their homes at Dandanac following a meeting between officers from the PA and the local government units last week.
Led by Tamboan barangay chairman Emerson Mangallay, Dandanac villagers brought their issues on the military deployed at  Dandanac at the municipal hall  last week.
Lt Col Charlie Castillo of the 81st Infantry  Brigade of the PA issued the safe conduct pass confirmed by  Mayor Bantog and barangay chairman Emerson Mangallay of  Tamboan.
Since  July 15  this year when  elements from of the New People’s Army’s Leonardo Pacsi Command and the  81stInfantry Brigade had a firefight which led to the  death of three  government soldiers, farmers  here have been scared to  harvest their  over matured rice  plants  from rice fields located some distance from  two encounter areas. 
An encounter area located along the way to the nearby trail to Abra province  has been  a site of  bloody firefights between the  two armed forces for quite some time.
Villagers here fear that over matured rice grains have drooped to water level or have been eaten or carried away by birds.
July is the rice harvesting month of farmers here. The basic commodity supplies their needs for a year.
Farmers here also lamented they were not allowed to attend the  wake of a dead  relative  at  Tamboan as they were prevented by the military still  deployed at Dandanac.


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