The New People’s Army-West Camarines Sur (Norben Gruta Command) reported the confiscation of firearms from a local despotic landlord in Barangay Villazar, Sipocot, Camarines Sur on February 1. Red fighters seized a baby M16 armalite rifle, 2 carbines and a store of ammunition for M16, Garand and M203 from the Villafuerte family compound.
“Residents have long complained of the Villafuerte’s abuses and rights violations in the barangay,” said Ka Michael Robredo, spokesperson of the NPA unit. The family is a known despotic landlord and political dynasty in the barangay.
According to complaints submitted to the NPA unit, the Villafuertes used the confiscated firearms to threaten and harass residents who disobeyed and complained of their abuses.
They have reportedly ordered the demolition of a group of houses of residents “who did not vote for them.” The family also took away parcels of land including logging areas. Residents have also reported the family’s extortion from market vendors and small businesses in the village.
“Only the firearms were confiscated, no personal belongings were seized by the NPA. No one was harmed in the process,” said Robredo. The conduct of the NPA is in stark contrast to the Philippine National Police’s tokhang operations.
“The confiscation serves as a warning to the family to stop their abuses against the village residents,” added Robredo.
Meanwhile, on March 4, a unit of the NPA-West Camarines Sur ambushed joint operating forces of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Philippine Army in Barangay Tigman of the same town.
The operating state troopers were conducting a strike operation against the NPA, but Red fighters were able to quickly position against them.
The NPA unit fired upon the police and soldiers at a 15-meter range from their position. In shock, enemy troopers were not able to return fire and scampered for cover. Two were killed while two others were wounded on government forces.