Military operation in Agusan and Surigao Norte: Squandering the nation’s resources, results in defeat

Maria Malaya
NDF-Northeast Mindanao
March 15, 2012

Like its predecessor US-Arroyo regime, the US-Aquino regime has escalated its attack in the mountains of Agusan-Surigao Norte-Surigao del Sur to “annihilate the NPA” and ensure the unconstrained destructive mining by foreign companies in Caraga. Just this March 2012, millions of pesos were wasted in four airstrikes launched by the 4ID PA/EastMin Com. The airstrikes and military operations’ only achievement was squandering the nation’s resources and incurring numerous fatalities among AFP soldiers.

Utilizing two MG-520s and two bomber planes, the mercenary AFP bombarded the mountains. It is estimated that the AFP has wasted six (6) million pesos with their indiscriminate bombing and strafing of mountains in Agusan-Surigao Norte in the first half of March 2012. On the other hand the sniper/harassment units of the NPA expended only 50 bullets in combating the large-scale military operations. Compared to 6 million, the NPA only spent one hundred thousand pesos (Php 100,000.00).

A canon mortar is worth one hundred thousand pesos (PH100,000.00). Rockets and mortars from helicopters and bomber planes costs more. The following are estimated expenditures of the AFP for their airstrikes and bombings:

1. Bombardment/airstrike against the NPA snipe/harassment team last March 8, 2012 during the celebration of the “International Women’s Day”.

10 canon mortars in Puting Bato, Cabadbaran City Ph1,000,000.00
20 projectiles from two bomber planes Ph2,000,000.00
Three strikes of 2 MG-520(half a million each) Ph3,000,000.00
Total Ph6,000,000.00


2. Costs of the three day airstrike in two lumad communities in Kalatingga and Manhumapay in the tri-boundary of Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur:

March 9, 2012, bombardment by two MG 520 at 1 o’clock in the afternoon: Ph1,000,000
March 10,2012, bombardment by two MG 520 at 9o’clock in the morning Ph1,000,000
March 11,2012 , bombardment by 2 MG-520 at 10 o’clock in the morning Ph1,000,000
Total Ph3,000,000


No NPA unit was in the said area on that time and the bombings forced 17 lumad families to leave their farms.

3. Four canon mortars dropped upon the abandoned camp of the NPA in Front 21 last March 11, 2012 at around 9:15 in the morning. They wasted around four hundred thousand pesos (Php400,000.00).

This does not include the costs incurred with the use of helicopters for the retrieval of casualties and delivery of supplies/food to the troops.

The helicopter which crashed last March 11, 2012, is yet another 50 million at the very least. In total, they squandered around 60 MILLION PESOS within only half a month of military operations. These only worsened the suffering of the people living in the mountains. Resources borne of the suffering, sweat and blood of the people, is being used by the brutal military in the harassment, dislocation and destruction of the livelihood of the very people who provide for them.

The military proudly declares their “victory” and shows off the trophy from the military operation which was the “breaching” of an abandoned NPA camp, confiscation of a defective generator and a few command detonated explosives (cdx) of Front 21. How easily pleased the AFP has become. In truth, the NPA has abandoned the camp for more than a month already. Said camp is situated near the area reached by the 30th IB PA last August 14, 2010. During that time, the army incurred quite a number of casualties when they were embroiled in a cross-fire as the NPA could only account for the killing of one army soldier. Col. Napuli, commanding officer of the 3rd SF BN PA even commanded the destruction of timber in the camp so “the NPA would not be able to make use of it”. This is so far from reality as the guerrilla NPA’s affectivity of movement cannot be affected by any number of instances of a temporary NPA camp being breached by the AFP/PNP troops.

The uncontrolled airstrikes/bombardment only served to dislocate the lumad communities from the mountains. Not a single NPA was struck by any of the airstrikes. These only laid to waste the resources of the people and will never result to the AFT/PNP’s and the US-Aquino regime’s dream of compelling the NPA to surrender.

Annex:

Incidents within the 60 MILLION PESOS military operations of the Eastern Mindanao Command-AFP in Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur this month of March 2012.

1. March 5, 2012 at around 7:30 in the morning, Red Fighters ambushed the army’s operating SRCoy (Scout Ranger Company) from Brgy. Cuyago. The NPA used a "command detonated explosive” that struck the said enemy column which was followed by an exchange of fire from both sides. The fire fight lasted up to 10:00 in the morning which resulted to the death of Ka. Eguene. Because the fire fight lasted to around three hours, the comrades failed to confiscate the weapons from the army casualties because of the three bombardments of an MG-520. On the other hand the army suffered the following casualties: 13 wounded which were brought to Brgy. Cuyagoug and 11 killed. The dead bodies were counted by the number of body bags. Two bodies were lifted by helicopter.

2. March 8, 2012 at around 9:30 in the morning, a group of NPA of Front 21 harassed a column of the 3rd SF BN PA in the mountain areas of Sitio Lusong, Puting Bato, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte. According to reports from Front21, only one military man was killed during the harassment. The NPA heard the army radioman call for air support. The NPA harassment unit was positioned in the middle of the enemy troops which resulted to a crossfire between the army troops. The AFP’s reaction was over-the-top. 10 canon mortars were fired; the two MG 520 strafed and dropped rockets and bombs. On its third attack at around 12:45 noon, it returned with 2 fighter planes that dropped 20 mortars with loud explosions. The question was: where did the fighter planes come from and who owns those as the AFP no longer have bomber planes? The bomber looks like a B-52 Stratofortress of the US Air Force.

A reliable report said that 6 soldiers were wounded and 3 were killed. The NPA suffered no casualty but an AK47 and its ammunitions were left behind during retreat. They also left behind personal belongings.

3. March 8, 2012, at 2:00 in the afternoon, an NPA unit from Front 30 fired upon a Huey helicopter delivering supplies to the 30th IBPA troops in Brgy. Lobo, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur. This resulted to damage and forced the helicopter to make an emergency landing in Sitio Nangka, Kabangahan, Cantilan. Sniping/harassment incidents followed after in the center of Lobo, but the army was not hit. The NPA safely retreated without casualties.

4. March 9, 10 ug 11, three day airstrikes utilizing 2 MG-520 in 2 communities in the tri-boundary of Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. The lumad communities of Kalatingga and Manhumapay were attacked with airstrikes for three consecutive days. On March 9, 2012, two MG0-520s attacked at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, the next day at around 9 in the morning and the third day on March 11, 2012 at around 10 o’clock in the morning. 17 families from 2 communities were forced to leave their farms for safety and left behind their sources of food and livelihood.

5. March 10, 2012 at around 6:30 in the evening, the NPA in Front 16 harassed the army troops in Sitio Zapanta, Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte. Two were killed and 3 were wounded from the army.

6. March 11, 2012, Red Fighters from the NPA in Front 16 saw two helicopters circling above the tri-boundary of the three provinces (where the three-day airstrike happened). But because it was far and because of the heavy mist the Red Fighters were not able to investigate the incident. They later heard in the news of a helicopter crashing in Sitio Zapanta, Bangayan. The NPA in Front 16 reported that no helicopter crashed in Sitio Zapanta deducing that it crashed in the mountains within the tri-boundary. No unit has also reported of hitting a helicopter on that day. Comrades from Front 16 described the mountains within the tri-boundary as dangerous, highly elevated and oftentimes covered by thick fog.

7. March 11, 2012 at around 4:30 in the early morning, the NPA from Front 30 harassed the CAA detachment in Sitio Dreamland, Alba, Tago, Surigao del Sur. No report has been sent on the incident at present time.

8. March 12, 2012 at around 11:00 in the morning the CAA detachment in Bunyasan, Malimono, Surigao del Norte, was sniped/harassed but there was no casualty.

9. March 14, 2012 Col. Napuli declared that the 3rd SF BN PA breached the abandoned camp of the NPA in Front21. Retrieved were a generator and two gallons of CDX (command detonated explosives).