Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Elderly woman killed, sister hurt in alleged MILF attack

ALEOSAN, North Cotabato, Philippines—An elderly woman farmer was killed while her sister was wounded when about 50 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerillas stormed the village of Pagangan here Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The attack came while President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was visiting nearby Cotabato City.

Mayor Loreto Cabaya said the MILF attack was the latest in the series of violence the rebels have launched.

The MILF hierarchy has already denied it ordered the attacks in various parts of Mindanao and pledged to end these by sanctioning "erring commanders."

MILF civil military operations chief Eid Kabalu on Wednesday said the civilian casualties were caught in the crossfire between Army militiamen and rebel forces.

But Cabaya said around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, MILF fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and assault rifles at a group of farmers in Pagangan.

Rosita Calarasa, 62, was hit by a bullet on the neck, said Major Armand Rico, spokesman of the Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command.

Calasara died while her sister Gemma, 41, was wounded when an RPG shell exploded near their group, Cabaya said.

The assailants also carted away her carabao, he said.

"This is too much already," Cabaya said.

Cabaya said what was more disgusting was that the attack came after the ceasefire committees declared a three-kilometer peace zone in the village following last week's clashes.

"I pity our farmers, they fled, returned home and fled again. When will this situation end?" he asked.

But Kabalu said the encounter started after the militiamen fired at MILF forces. The rebels were on their way to the sub-village Tubak, Pagangan village, to augment the troops of MILF commander Ta Gundarangan, who were allegedly attacked twice by the militia force there.

"They [casualties] were caught in the crossfire,” Kabalu said in a phone interview.

Kabalu said a fact-finding team from the Joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) was investigating the incident.

The encounter occurred on the same day that MILF forces allegedly attacked three militia positions in North Cotabato. Kabalu denied the rebels' involvement in the attacks.

Rico said the attack on the outpost situated in the village of Bualan occurred around 11:45 a.m.

"No one was injured in the attack, but troops from the Army's 40th Infantry Battalion were sent to the area to monitor the MILF activities and take a defensive stance to secure the community," Rico said.

(With reports from Edwin Fernandez, Charlie Señase, Jeoffrey Maitem and Dennis Santos, Inquirer Mindanao; and Joel Guinto, INQUIRER.net)

1 comment:

Warrior In Scrubs said...

Atrocities such as this are the last thing that Midsayap needs.

I've been to Midsayap in November last year and have met Mayor Cabaya himself, and I can say he is indeed sincere and committed in bringing progress to his hometown.