Tag Archive: Lyndon Paniza


One soldier was killed while at least six others were injured when suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members detonated a landmine against a convoy of military trucks in Lupon, Davao Oriental, early Tuesday, the military said.

Private first class Jhasam Diaz of the 28th Infantry Battalion expired while being brought to a hospital, Army 10th Infantry Division spokesman Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said.

Six other soldiers were wounded and are now being treated at the Tagum Regional Hospital and Davao Oriental Provincial Hospital in Mati City, Paniza said.

The attack occurred around 12:20 a.m., while Diaz and other members of the 28th IB’s “peace and development team” were passing through Sitio Mainit, Brgy. Calapagan, on two military trucks.

The team was heading back to its headquarters when a landmine exploded and hit the rear portion of the second vehicle, Paniza said.

The attacked troops had just finished providing security to other soldiers who are conducting rehabilitation operations in areas affected by typhoon “Pablo,” according to the regional military spokesman.

“The NPA again showed barbarism and inhuman acts by disturbing our humanitarian assistance activities,” Paniza said.

Troops’ homes raided

Meanwhile, suspected NPA members raided homes of active and retired soldiers, as well as a former policeman, in Kinoguitan, Misamis Oriental, around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

About 25 fully-armed men “simultaneously ransacked” the houses of Pfc. Benjamin Timbal, of the 58th Infantry Battalion; retired Ssgt. Eliseo Salvacion; and retired PO4 Ananias Requerme in Purok 4, Brgy. Poblacion, Army 4th Infantry Division spokesman Lt. Col. Eugenio Osias said.

The rebels also raided the homes of former municipal councilor Benito Salvacion and one Vionica Llagas, Northern Mindanao regional police spokesman Supt. Ronnie Francis Cariaga said.

The raiders took Army camouflage uniforms, a pair of combat boots, a caliber-.45 pistol, four cellular phones, and other personal belongings before fleeing towards hilly part of Brgy. Buko Gamay, he said.

No one was reported injured during the raids.

Members of the 58th IB were sent to pursue the rebels, Osias said. (John Roson)

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Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members released on Monday a soldier’s two children who they seized in Kapalong, Davao Del Norte, on Sunday, the military said.

Mira Luna, 17, and Mona Lisa Masoluon, 12, were freed around 8 a.m. through negotiations by Datu Domingo, tribal chief of Sitio Kawayan, Brgy. Gupitan, Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said.

Mira Luna and Mona Lisa, children of Pfc. Lito Masaluon, were seized by rebels while they were travelling with their father in Sitio Danao, Brgy Mandalingan, around 9:30 a.m., Paniza said.

The three, along with another civilian, were riding the elder Masaluon’s motorcycle when seven suspected NPA members fired upon them, Paniza said.

Masaluon and his children were on the way back to the Kimantaan detachment, where he is assigned, after picking up a sack of rice in Sitio Danao, according to the regional Army spokesman.

Sensing that his children will be in danger if he stays with them, Masaluon opted to divert the attackers’ attention to the opposite direction, leaving his children, Paniza said.

“Failing to kill Masaluon, the NPAs took the children instead… He ran to escape and to ask for help, but three NPAs followed him and continued firing at him,” Paniza said.

Masaluon is among the many military personnel who fell victim to the devastation brought by typhoon “Pablo,” according to Paniza.

“Our house was washed out by the flashflood in Kapalong, that is why I brought my two children to the detachment, for shelter,” Paniza quoted Masaluon as saying. (John Roson)

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274 dead in ‘Pablo’ onslaught

Pablo making landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental, Tuesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Pablo making landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental, Tuesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

(Updated 10 p.m.) Some 274 people were killed while 279 went missing as typhoon “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) ravaged Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, and nearby areas, authorities said Wednesday.

The huge death toll was made known only a day after “Pablo” struck, as electricity and communication lines were either shut down or cut off, preventing authorities from contacting “isolated” villages.

Four were killed in Central Visayas, two in Eastern Visayas, eight in Northern Mindanao, 253 in Southern Mindanao, the region of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, while seven were killed in Caraga, Office of Civil Defense administrator Benito Ramos said by phone Wednesday night.

“Three-hundred and thirty-nine were injured and 279 are still missing,” Ramos said.

Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental are considered as the “hard-hit” areas, not only because of the high number of deaths but also because of heavy damage to properties and infrastructure, Ramos said in an earlier interview.

Earlier, Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Compostela Valley, said at least 142 people were killed in the province.

Homes, Army detachment washed out

Pablo's devastation. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Pablo’s devastation. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Most of the fatalities were victims of a mudslide in New Bataan, and floods in Monkayo, Paniza said.

Three soldiers of the Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion – identified as identified as Ssgt. Olivares, Ssgt. Cabillion, and Ssgt. Catague – were among those killed in a mudslide in Brgy. Andap, New Bataan.

“‘Yung detachment or patrol base doon sa area, pati ‘yung mga kalapit na bahay, na-wash out,” he said.

Paniza said 58 people, including soldiers Sgt. Panague, Pfc. Armodia, Pfc. Batua, Sgt. Conejos, Pfc. Hingosa, Pfc. Hopeda, Pfc. Jegapo, and Pfc. Aranez, are still missing in Compostela Valley.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Manila said many of those who died in New Bataan remain unidentified.

Winds brought down evacuation center, moved Army trucks

Evacuees taking shelter behind the wall of an evacuation center whose roof was blown away by Pablo's strong winds. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Evacuees taking shelter behind the wall of an evacuation center whose roof was blown away by Pablo’s strong winds. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

In its report Wednesday afternoon, the Davao Oriental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) reported 116 deaths in the province alone.

Fifty-nine were killed in Cateel, followed by 31 in Baganga, 15 in Boston, nine in Caraga town, and one each in Manay and Taragona.

Twenty-one people in different towns were still missing, according to the 5 p.m. PDRRMC report.

Lt. Zaida Vidad, acting spokesperson of the Army’s 701st Brigade based in Mati City, said the fatalities include 11 people who were killed when an evacuation center collapsed in Cateel due to strong winds.

“Malakas na hangin ang kanilang naramdaman… ang pagka-explain sa akin ng hepe ko doon, umaangat ‘yung Army trucks, gumagalaw sa lakas ng hangin, nadadala ng hangin,” Senior Supt. Rommil Mitra, Davao Oriental provincial police director, said in a separate phone interview Tuesday night.

Almost all buildings and houses in Brgy. Poblacion, Cateel, were left “roofless,” Mitra added.

More than 200 houses, various infrastructure, and communication towers were destroyed by strong winds, according to the PDRRMC.

Agricultural lands and livestock in Boston suffered severe damages, it added.

21 killed in other areas

Evacuees use a tent to shield themselves from rain beside the evacuation center whose roof was blown away. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Evacuees use a tent to shield themselves from rain beside the evacuation center whose roof was blown away. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

The NDRRMC, meanwhile, said 21 other people were killed in storm-related incidents in Surigao del Sur (4), Misamis Oriental (4), Agusan del Sur (3), Misamis Occidental (2), Bukidnon (2), Negros Oriental (2), Cebu (1), Siquijor (1), Northern Samar (1), and Southern Leyte (1).

Most of these fatalities were hit by falling trees or victims of drowning, according to the NDRRMC.

Power still out in many areas

As of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, various parts of Cagayan de Oro City, Malaybalay City and Valencia City in Bukidnon, Surigao del Sur, Asudan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Lanao del Sur, and Mabinay in Negros Oriental were still experiencing power outages, the NDRRMC said.

Power and communications lines are also still down in the hard-hit areas of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the council said.

As of 8 p.m., the center of “Pablo” was spotted 160 kilometers north-west of Roxas, Palawan, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration.

The storm, moving west-northwest at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour, is packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kph and a gustiness of up to 150 kph, according to the state weather bureau.

When it made landfall in Davao Oriental Tuesday morning, “Pablo” had maximum sustained winds of 175 kph and a gustiness of up to 210 kph.

“Pablo,” the strongest storm to hit the country this year, is expected to be 510 kilometers west of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, Thursday afternoon and 700 kilometers west of Subic, Zambales, outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility, Friday afternoon. (John Roson)

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Two suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members were killed in a clash with government troops in Montevista, Compostela Valley, early Friday, the military said.

The slain suspects were identified by their parents as Joriben Caipan, 20, and Christopher Mawang, 18, of Brgys. San Jose and Camantangan, Montevista, Lt. Col Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army 10th Infantry Division based in Mawab, said.

Aside from the rebels’ bodies, troops recovered an improvised landmine and a caliber-.45 pistol at the scene, Paniza said in a phone interview.

The clash occurred around 3:30 a.m., when a 15-man team from the 66th Infantry Battalion was patrolling in Brgy. Libanon.

At least seven armed men, believed to be members of the NPA Front Committee 33, fired upon the soldiers who, in turn, retaliated, Paniza said.

“Residents informed the our soldiers that armed men were seen roaming in the area,” Paniza said when asked what prompted the patrol.

“Pinapasalamatan natin ‘yung community, dahil kung hindi dahil sa kanila, ‘yung landmine na ‘yun ay naitanim before makarating yung tropa. So nailigtas ‘yung buhay ng sundalo natin at buhay mismo ng mga sibilyan mula sa landmine,” he added. (John Roson)

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The Army pulled out the 27th Infantry Battalion from the area of armed tribal group leader Daguil Capion after its troops were involved in an incident that killed his wife and two sons.

Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said he ordered the pullout after meeting with tribal leaders on Oct. 31.

“Napag-usapan is gusto nila (tribal leaders) to give justice [to the victims], kung puwedeng ‘yung 27th IB ay maalis dun, palitan ng ibang army, so 39th IB will be taking over,” Bernardo said.

The pullout, which took place on Nov. 1, saw the 27th IB withdraw from the entire town of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, as well as adjacent barangays in Tampakan, South Cotabato, and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, 10th ID spokesman Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said.

The tri-boundary – called Kitaco for short – is known to be the area where B’laan tribesman Daguil Capion’s armed group operates.

It also hosts the “exploration site” of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc., which plans to dig a gold and copper mine.

The area will now be secured by the 39th Infantry Battalion, which is headed by Lt. Col. Norman Zuniega and based in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, Paniza said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial took over as commander of the 27th IB on Monday, following the resignation of Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo.

Bernardo led the turnover ceremony at the 27th IB headquarters in Tupi, South Cotabato, around 9 a.m., Paniza said.

Bravo resigned as commander of the 27th IB to give way to an investigation on the Oct. 18 incident that killed Capion’s wife Juvy, 31, and their sons Pop, 13, and John, 8, in Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan.

“He (Bravo) resigned out of ‘delicadeza’ and to give way to the ongoing investigation on the incident. Tinanggap naman ng higher headquarters ‘yung decision niya,” Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, spokesman of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said. (John Roson)

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The commander of an Army battalion in Central Mindanao has resigned from his post following the incident that killed a tribal leader’s wife and two sons, military officials said.

Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo’s resignation as commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion takes effect Monday, when a new commander will take over, Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, spokesman of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said.

“He (Bravo) resigned out of ‘delicadeza’ and to give way to the ongoing investigation on the incident. Tinanggap naman ng higher headquarters ‘yung decision niya,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the 10th Infantry Division which supervises the 1002nd Brigade and effectively, the 27th IB, confirmed Bravo’s resignation.

Bravo will be replaced by Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial, Paniza said in a text message.

Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th ID, will preside over the turnover ceremony at the 27th IB headquarters in South Cotabato and hold a media conference later at the Task Force Gensan headquarters in General Santos City.

Bernardo will discuss, among others, the results of an inquiry over the Oct. 18 incident that killed armed tribal group leader Daguil Capion’s wife Juvy, 31, and their sons Pop, 13, and John, 8, in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Rodriguez said.

Thirteen members of the 27th IB were recommended by the 10th ID’s board of inquiry to face court martial proceedings over the incident.

The soldiers, led by 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, were checking the reported presence of armed men in Brgy. Kimlawis but were fired upon so they retaliated, according to the military.

Jimenez admitted failing to assess who they were facing and found out later that they clashed with the group of Capion, whose family members were in the area, Paniza said in a recent interview.

The board of inquiry had requested the Army headquarters to convene a general court martial for Jimenez, Sgt. Dennis Murillo, Sgt. Rommel Ballenes, Cpl. Robert Godio, Cpl. Ayiha Namla, Cpl. Brucekhan Sahali, Cpl. Bashir Said, Cpl. Julah Majid, Cpl. Jemson Jadjuli, Pfc. Marlowe Gayamot, Pfc. Joel Lopez, Pfc. Darryl Tayamora, and Pfc. Richard Julian.

The soldiers will be tried for violations of Articles of War 76 (Misbehavior before the Enemy), 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman), and 97 (Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline), according to Paniza.

The incident happened at the gold and copper-rich boundaries of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur; Tampakan, South Cotabato; and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, where foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. has an “exploration area.”

Capion, a member of the B’laan tribe, is described by anti-mining groups as a “tribal warrior” opposing Sagittarius Mines’ plan to dig a mine in the area.

The military and police, on the other hand, labeled Capion a “bandit” for his alleged involvement in several incidents, including the burning of mining equipment and ambush on security forces in the area. (John Roson)

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The Army has relieved the commander of the task force securing a gold and copper-rich area of Central Mindanao after his men shot dead the wife and two sons of a tribal leader, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo was removed as commander of Task Force Kitaco three days after the Oct. 18 incident that killed B’laan tribeswoman Juvy Capion, 31, and her sons Pop, 13, and John, 8, said Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.

“We had to relieve him para ma-continue ‘yung activities doon, ‘yung mga engagement natin dun sa community… kasi mainit na masyado ‘yung mga relatives ng mga biktima,” Paniza said.

Bravo helmed Task Force Kitaco while commanding the 27th Infantry Battalion.

He was replaced by Capt. Joel Wayagwag as head of the 90-man task force, which was named after the towns of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur; Tampakan, South Cotabato; and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat.

The 27th IB, which Bravo still commands, will no longer have control over Task Force Kitaco, Paniza said.

“The task force will now be reporting directly to the 1002nd Brigade,” he said.

13 soldiers face court martial

At the same time, the 10th ID’s board of inquiry recommended that 13 soldiers directly involved in the incident face court martial proceedings.

Paniza identified the 13 as 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, Sgt. Dennis Murillo, Sgt. Rommel Ballenes, Cpl. Robert Godio, Cpl. Ayiha Namla, Cpl. Brucekhan Sahali, Cpl. Bashir Said, Cpl. Julah Majid, Cpl. Jemson Jadjuli, Pfc. Marlowe Gayamot, Pfc. Joel Lopez, Pfc. Darryl Tayamora, and Pfc. Richard Julian.

Jimenez led the team in checking the reported presence of armed men in Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan.

The soldiers said they were fired upon, but Jimenez admitted failing to assess who they were facing, Paniza said, citing a report by the young officer.

It was “only after the incident” that the troops found they clashed with the armed group of Daguil Capion, whose wife Juvy and several children were also in the area, Paniza said.

The soldiers might have thought that they were facing members of the New People’s Army (NPA) because the communist rebel group has a team – the Sub-Regional Guerrilla Unit Far South – in the area, he said.

“Nung magpunta sila (soldiers) doon sa area, hindi talaga si Daguil Capion ang sadya nila… na-findout na lang nila na nandoon ang pamilya ni Capion after the incident,” Paniza said.

“There was a lapse of judgment on the [part of the] company commander, for he failed to direct his men in accordance to the rules of engagement,” Paniza said.

The regional military spokesman, however, maintained that the incident was a “legitimate encounter,” not a “massacre” as what several groups claim.

The board of inquiry requested the Army headquarters to convene a general court martial for Jimenez and the 12 others.

According to Paniza, the soldiers will be tried for violations of Articles of War 76 (Misbehavior before the Enemy), 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman), and 97 (Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline). (John Roson)

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Two suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members were killed while seven soldiers and two civilians were injured in a clash in Maco, Compostela Valley, on Sunday, the military said.

The clash started around 12 noon, when about 60 fully-armed rebels attacked 13 members of the 71st Infantry Battalion in Brgy. Calabcab, Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said.

The soldiers, comprised of an officer and 12 enlisted personnel, were conducting a “peace and development program” in the barangay when the rebels came, he said.

“Di naman agad nakaganti mga tropa kasi may mga sibilyan,” Paniza said, adding that the outnumbered soldiers called for air support.

An MG-520 helicopter eventually arrived at the scene three hours later, forcing the rebels to retreat. “Sabi nga ng mga sibilyan, kung di pa dumating helicopter, di pa sila inalisan [ng mga rebelde],” Paniza said.

Two civilians, identified as Grace Maliza and Adela Madanlo were injured in the rebel attack and brought by relatives to the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

During the attack, the 22-year-old Maliza reportedly urged the rebels not to fire at civilians. “Sumigaw siya, ‘Wag nyo kaming paputukan, sibilyan kami,’ pero pinaputukan pa rin, tinamaan siya ng bala sa kamay,” Paniza said.

Madanlo, 46, suffered shrapnel wounds on her feet after a grenade thrown by the rebels exploded, according to the regional military spokesman.

Paniza identified the injured soldiers as Sgt. Marlon Parong, Cpl. Romualdo Tangonan, Pfc. Erwin Manabat, Pfc. Rocky Molina, Pfc. Jaypee Sionillo, Pfc. Carmelo Cachuela, and Pfc. Ludivico Elegio Jr.

All were brought to the station hospital in Camp Panacan, Davao City, except one, who was brought to the Southern Philippines Medical Center because of a bullet wound to the head, he said.

Troops, meanwhile, recovered two slain rebels’ remains, an M16 rifle, M14 rifle, five landmines, two M203 grenade launcher ammunition, two fragmentation grenades, and 13 rifle magazines while scouring the encounter site, Paniza said. (John Roson)

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(updated) The Army removed from their posts a company commander and 11 soldiers as it admitted seeing lapses that might have led to the death of three civilians, including two minors, in a clash near Sagittarius Mines Inc.’s (SMI) exploration site in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, on Thursday.

1Lt. Dante Jimenez, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion’s Bravo Coy, and 11 of his men were relieved so they can be investigated by a board of inquiry, Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said.

Paniza said Brig. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th ID, ordered the creation of the board of inquiry immediately upon learning of the deaths of B’laan tribeswoman Juvy Capion, 31, and her sons Pop, 13, and John, 8.

Jimenez and his men will stay at Camp Manuel Yan, the 10th ID’s headquarters in Mawab, Compostela Valley, while undergoing investigation.

Lt. Col. Alexis Noel Bravo, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion, was also summoned to the 10th ID headquarters but was not relieved, Paniza said Friday night.

Battalion commander’s relief retracted?

In an interview Friday morning, Paniza said Bravo was relieved along with Jimenez.

“Parang ganun ang mangyayari, somebody will take over while they are undergoing investigation, para ma-determine natin kung mayroon bang lapses doon sa rules of engagement,” Paniza said by phone.

But Bernardo, in a later interview with another media entity, said Bravo was “recalled for investigation.”

A source in the 10th ID confirmed that Bravo was indeed among those relieved, until Bernardo made the “clarification” in the afternoon.

“He (Bravo) was relieved under the doctrine of command responsibility, as battalion commander. Temporary lang naman ‘yun while the investigation is ongoing and that’s only procedural,” the source said before Bernardo was interviewed.

“Kaninang umaga malinaw na malinaw he (Bravo) was among those who were ordered relieved, as per our higher-ups, that’s where we based our earlier statements on,” the source said, after being told of Bernardo and Paniza’s new pronouncements.

Paniza issued a statement Friday evening, denying “news” that Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista ordered Bravo’s relief.

Lapse seen

In the Friday morning interview, Paniza assured someone will be made responsible for the deaths of civilians in the clash.

“Isa sa mga assurance namin sa public is we will see to it na may mananagot dito sa nangyari kasi hindi naman natin puwedeng sabihin na collateral damage lang ito. May pagkukulang talaga, so somebody has to answer for this incident,” he said.

Asked if that meant military saw lapses, Paniza said: “Most likely… hindi pa man natin ma-determine kung gaano kalaki ‘yung lapse, but since may incident na ganun, posible na may managot talaga sa nangyari.”

“We also welcome any independent investigation para madetermine kung ano talaga ang katotohanan,” he said.

No raid

Paniza, however, dismissed environmentalist groups’ claims that Juvy and her sons were killed in a “raid” launched by the 27th IB.

He maintained that the soldiers were “patrolling” in response to reports on the presence of armed men, and were fired upon until forced to retaliate by the armed group of Juvy’s husband Daguil Capion.

“Ang nakikita namin doon, na kaya pala nandoon ‘yung asawa’t mga anak niya… siguro pinaakyat ni Capion dahil matagal na niya hindi nakikita ‘yung pamilya niya, hindi na siya nakakababa. Hindi naman na-verify, hindi naman na-check ng tropa natin na may iba pang occupant maliban dun sa grupo ni Capion,” Paniza said.

Juvy and her sons are residents of the lowlands of Sitio Datal Blao, which lies near the boundary of Tampakan, South Cotabato, he noted.

Bandit?

The regional military spokesman also brushed off anti-mining groups’ claims that Daguil Capion is a B’laan warrior tasked to protect the tribe’s ancestral domain, a large part of which is now occupied by Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI).

“Bago pa man nagkaroon ng SMI sa lugar na ‘to, itong si Daguil Capion notorious na ito na bandido, marami na itong pinaggagawa… ngayon nung di napagbigyan ng SMI ‘yung kanyang mga hiling, ginamit niya yung SMI na rason para ma-justify ‘yung kanyang mga pinaggagawa,” Paniza said.

Among the recent attacks blamed on Capion is the June 20 ambush that killed retired Supt. Villamindo Hectin, a security consultant of SMI, and PO2 Rey Tonso, a member of the Davao del Sur Provincial PNP’s Public Safety Company.

Paniza noted that even he has had his share of encounters with Capion during his stint as commander of the 39th Infantry Battalion, which guarded Kiblawan from 2008 to 2010 before the 27th IB came.

“Napakatagal na problema na ‘yung banditry diyan, napagsalin-salinglahi na lang hanggang sa makaabot dun sa grupo ni Capion, nag-umpisa ‘yan sa cattle rustling… pag wala na silang makuha na mga farm animals, ang ginagawa naman nila nagtatanim ng marijuana. Several times na naming hinabol-habol ‘yang mga ‘yan dahil nagtatanim ng marijuana” he said.

Information drive

Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, spokesman of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade which directly supervises the 27th IB, said the unit, for its parts, is conducting an information drive on the incident and extended financial assistance to the victims’ family.

“We see to it that timely information are sent to the persons or groups na dapat makaalaam nun in order to prevent wrong speculations. We also see to it that all possible assistance to the bereaved family,” he said.

The military shouldered all expenses for the burial of Juvy and her sons, which was scheduled to be held yesterday in Sitio Datal Blao, Rodriguez said.

Sagittarius Mines Inc. is the local partner of Swiss company Xstrata Plc. in operating a proposed gold and copper mine in an area straddling boundaries of Kiblawan, Tampakan of South Cotabato, and Columbio of Sultan Kudarat.

The area has a two-billion ton deposit of copper and gold, according to feasibility studies done by the companies. (John Roson)

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A retired police official working for Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) and an active policeman were killed while two militiamen were injured in an ambush by bandits inside the company’s exploration site in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, the other day (Wednesday), authorities said.

Senior Supt. Ronaldo Llanera, Davao del Sur Provincial Police director, identified the fatalities as retired Supt. Villamindo Hectin, a security consultant at SMI, and PO2 Rey Tonso, of the Provincial Public Safety Company.

The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. inside SMI’s “exploration area” in Brgy. Kimlawis.

Tonso and Hectin were riding a police patrol car on their way down from an upland SMI campsite when an undetermined number of armed men opened fire on their vehicle, Llanera said in a phone interview.

Lieutenant Col Lyndon Paniza, Army 10th Infantry Division spokesman, said members of the Civilian Active Auxiliary manning a nearby detachment rushed to the scene upon learning the attack, but were also fired upon.

The attackers, led by a certain Daguil Kapyon, engaged the reinforcements in a firefight, wounding militiamen identified only by the surnames Templa and Malanson, Paniza said.

The assailants are not members of the communist New People’s Army, but armed natives who might have thought the policemen were out to arrest them, according to Llanera.

“‘Yun kasing mga members ng local IPs (indigenous peoples), mayroon sa mga ‘yang may mga warrant of arrest. Siguro iniisip nila, ‘yung mga pulis na nandun are there to implement the warrant of arrest,” he said.

Sagittarius Mines Inc. is the local partner of Swiss company Xstrata Plc. in operating a proposed gold and copper mine in an area straddling boundaries of Kiblawan, Tampakan of South Cotabato, and Columbio of Sultan Kudarat.

The area has a two-billion ton deposit of copper and gold, according to feasibility studies done by the companies.

Policemen are now regularly patrolling the areas because of an increasing number of people going to the site, Llanera said.

Members of the military’s Task Force Kitaco are now pursuing the attackers, Paniza said. (John Roson)

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