ANTIPAS, North Cotabato (DWDD) – A total of two hundred thirty seven (237) families returns home at Barangay Camutan, Antipas after evacuating at the municipal gym due to the harassment of New People’s Army members on the evening of March 22.
According to the evacuees, the NPA headed by a local commander named Alvin Gulmatico alyas Joel of Guerilla Front 53 tried to summon them at Brgy Camutan proper, with more or less 30 armed NPA on the evening of March 22. This caused alarm and scandal that forced the residents to evacuate on the morning of March 23.
Due to the incident, the LGU of Antipas headed by the municipal mayor, Hon Egidio Cadungon immediately convened the crisis management and requested for PNP and Army assistance. Joint Army/PNP operations were conducted to pursue the NPA and drive them away from the communities.
On the evening of March 23 at exactly 7:15pm, an encounter between the pursuing Army/PNP and NPA occurred at Sitio Embangan of Brgy Camutan, fire fight lasted for ten (10) minutes after which the NPA withdrew. There was no casualty from the government forces.
March 25, after two days of joint Army/PNP security operations, the crisis management of Antipas declared the affected areas of Brgy Camutan safe from the presence of NPA. Four (4) municipal dump trucks and two (2) Army trucks were utilized to transport the families back to their respective homes in order for them to live their normal lives.
It can be recalled that the municipality of Antipas was declared conflict manageable and ready for further development during the area clearing validation board on February 22, 2017. Hence, the NPA is trying to recover brgy Camutan, unfortunately they were not welcomed and had only caused fear to the communities.
“Dili mi dawatonang NPA kunghadlukonnilaangcivilyan (we won’t accept the NPA if they are threatening the civilian)”, Mayor Cadungon said during a short program on the distribution of relief goods to the evacuated families on March 25. CMO 39IB / MCAG
Hand-over of relief goods and provision of transportation assistance to the evacuees of BrgyCamutan, Antipas on March 25, 2017.