From the masses to the masses - Ka Likot and Ka Dindo: martyrs of the people!

Armando Silva
Alfredo Cesar Command - NPA Ilocos Sur
October 01, 2011

In the midst of a savage military operation launched by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, a series of battles occurred between the AFP and the New People’s Army (NPA) last September 23, 24 and 26. The red fighters of the NPA courageously fought to defend against enemy attacks. But as a result, two comrades, Benny Boy “Ka Likot” Aguilar and Delfin “Ka Dindo” Gullayan died as martyrs on the night of September 24.

Benny Boy “Ka Likot” Aguillar, 23 y/o, comes from the urban poor of Sampaloc, Metro Manila. The military displayed his torn body to torment the people of Cervantes the day following the encounter. His body showed signs of “overkill” – a shattered skull, one eye detached from its socket, and a caved in chest from multiple gunshots and heavy bashing. This is a clear violation of the CARHRIHL where mutilation of the dead is prohibited.

Delfin “Ka Dindo” Gullayan, 28 y/o, comes from a poor peasant family of Baclingayan, Tubo, Abra. The military prevented civilians to enter the encounter site even when the NPA was no longer in the area. Thus, concerned groups were frightened to search for him. But due to the insistence of concerned civilians, family and human rights groups, Ka Dindo was found dead in the afternoon of September 29, five days after the encounter. Had the military, hours after the encounter, allowed civilians into the site, Ka Dindo would have been found earlier.

On the other hand, the AFP incurred heavy casualties from the three battles. Contrary to the AFP’s claim that only one soldier was wounded in the September 23 firefight while another soldier died in the September 24 encounter, a total of 15 died and not less than six other soldiers were wounded from the operating troops of the 50th IB of the Philippine Army headed by Col. Anquillano and its Charlie Coy under 1Lt. Dan Michael Millan and 2Lt. Randee Alog.

The first clash happened in Brgy. Remedios where four soldiers died and six others were wounded in the morning of September 23. Ten soldiers died at Bulaga, Brgy. Aluling on September 24 while an undetermined number were at the least wounded at Maupong, Brgy. Concepcion on September 26.

In the ongoing military operation in Cervantes, the AFP has once more shown its true violent color. It went on a rampage and arrested five civilians whom they suspected as NPA members. Three are still held by the AFP – Edward Galao of Cabaroan, Brgy. Concepcion, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur , Kidsol Keeg of Brgy. Remedios, Cervantes and Hilario Bantio, 44 y/o from Labaan, Tabio, Mankayan, Benguet while the following have been released – Mathew Sawey of Langsoyan, Brgy. Aluling, Cervantes and Francis Tengngedan of Cawag, Brgy. Aluling . The CPP-NPA categorically denies that said civilians are members of the NPA. They are not combatants and their rights as civilians should be respected as stated in the CARHRIHL.

As the people’s army, the NPA supports the masses in their struggle against the massive destruction of their lands and livelihood caused by the operations of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Inc. to the people living along the Abra River. (Lepanto is located in Mankayan, Benguet while Abra River flows from Mankayan to Cervantes, Quirino and other parts of southern Abra and Ilocos Sur.) This devastation will further worsen when the Exploration Permit and other mining applications by Lepanto and other mining companies like CEXCI, Malibatu, Solfotara are approved. (The Phelps Dodge mining company is already exploring in Patiacan, Quirino, Ilocos Sur.) As in other affected areas, the NPA is in Cervantes to educate, organize and mobilize the people to fight these mining companies in order to protect what is left of their lands for the future generation.

The 50th IB of the Philippine Army has been acting as an investment security force of Lepanto and other mining companies. On the first half of 2009 until the 1st quarter of 2011, the 50th IB maintained a military camp within the vicinity of Lepanto mines. Upon its pull-out, another Philippine Army unit immediately took its place. The military terrorized and continues to disrupt the lives of the people of Bulalacao and Colalo, in Mankayan, Benguet, two communities that have been leading the struggle against the destructive mining of Lepanto in Mankayan. In 2010, the 50th IB set-up its HQ in Cervantes but the people of Cervantes kicked them out last January 2011 after they raped and molested some students of the Ilocos Sur Trade School. The same bullying was shown by the military when they harassed the families of Ka Likot and Ka Dindo who only wanted to bring home their dead.

The NPA and the Filipino masses may have lost Ka Likot and Ka Dindo but the people’s war for national democracy goes on. Coming from the masses, these two courageous young men went back to the masses and thru their deaths they have watered these fertile lands from whence new warriors will arise to continue the struggle for freedom.

Salute the bravery of Ka Likot and Ka Dindo!
Free all civilians caught by the AFP!
Stop all large scale mining and exploration!
Challenge to the AFP – respect and follow the CAHRRIHL!