Pili, Camarines Sur - Ka Greg Banares, the CPP/NPA/NDF spokesman in Bicol Region, claimed that the rebels who were killed during an encounter with the 42nd Infantry Battalion (42IB) troops in Bula, Camarines Sur on September 9, 2009 “were tortured” by the soldiers. In a written statement, Banares condemned the alleged human rights abuses committed by the 9ID troops. He also called on the local populace to honor the fallen “martyrs” and to continue supporting the local terrorist movement.
During an interview over Radyo Bombo-Legaspi, MAJOR HAROLD M CABUNOC, PIO 9ID, clearly explained that the soldiers never committed human rights violations. He stressed that no one among the civilians who were used as human shields by the LCTs were shot at by the soldiers and that more rebels could have been killed if the soldiers fired indiscriminately during the firefight. He likewise cited the letter directive of MGEN RUPERTO R PABUSTAN, CG 9ID, reminding 9ID soldiers to respect human rights during combat operations.
Further, MAJOR CABUNOC called on Ka Greg to come out in the open and fully explain to the public their policy of murdering unarmed soldiers, civilians volunteers and perceived military informants. “Manalamin naman kayo at makikita nyo ang sarili nyong kamalian. Ipaliwanag nyo ang ginagawang pagpatay sa mga sundalong walang baril at mapayapang nagbakasyon sa kanilang tahanan”, MAJOR CABUNOC said. He likewise offered that local terrorist group members are always welcome to return to the folds of the law and avail of the financial assistance and income generating projects provided through the Social Integration Program (SIP) of the government.
The 9th Infantry Division has continuously deployed troops in remote barangays to secure the development projects implemented by the national government. Several attempts had been made by the CPP-NPA elements to burn construction equipment which are used for these development projects. In one incident on September 7, 2009, 9ID troops of Sulong Detachment in San Miguel, Catanduanes successfully prevented the LCTs’ attempt to burn the heavy equipment used by Sunwest Corporation to construct a hydro-electric dam in that area.