Tribal leader blames NPA rebels for latest killing of three civilians in Davao City

August 9, 2010 11:58 am 

DAVAO CITY, Aug. 9 — Datu Ruben Labawan, the newly-elected head of the Tribal Council for Security and member of the Supreme Tribal Council for Peace and Development here blamed the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels the ambush that killed his security escorts, including his brother and one civilian, that happened 10 a.m. Friday at Barangay Colosas, Paquibato District, this city.

The incident also wounded two civilians.

He admitted being the primary target of the ambush, citing his strong opposition to the alleged excesses of the communist rebels in Paquibato District.

Labawan disclosed that it was the second time, the rebels attempted to kill him.

He said being a leader of the Alsa-Lumad, an anti-communist organization of the indigenous peoples, it is his responsibility to stop the influence of the rebels to their communities.

“Nasuko na sila kanako tungod kay babag man ko sa ilang paggamit kanamong mga lumad sa ilang paglihok kontra sa gobierno (They (rebels) were already angry because I’m against in using us (lumads) fighting against the government),” Labawan said.

He claimed that God saved him and his wife that day when the more or less 18 rebels positioned at the roadside opened fire at them at a distance of two-meters.

Labawan sustained a minor wound at his left hand.

He lamented that as he lost his brother and another escort, the rebels did not spare the civilians who happened to be following their convoy on a separate motorcycle and were hit by the firing.

Labawan said the rebels took away the rifles of his escorts and the P7,000 cash of one of the civilians.

He insisted that he is not involved in the alleged selling of lands in Paquibato, an issue that the rebels brought up once with Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

“We want to cultivate our ancentral lands and I don’t have the authority to allow others,” Labawan pointed out.

Authorities identified the two military fatalities as Pfc. Elansio Alonsagay and Pfc. Kimpio Labawan, both members of the Division Reconnaissance Company while the wounded civilians were Johry Abolorio, Gloria Alarao and Aliberto Libayao. Inocencio Dangkay, one of the wounded civilians passed away Saturday while undergoing medical treatment due to bullet wounds. (PNA)

FFC/JSGD/lvp

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