Soldier runs amok, injures 7 in Bukidnon
Seven civilians were reported injured after an element of the 72nd IB indiscriminately fired his weapon at a village fiesta in Barangay Calapaton, Kitaotao, Bukidnon last October 17. According to the residents, a drunken soldier fired his weapon after figuring in an altercation while playing the illegal gambling “hantak.” After the shooting, the villagefolk swarmed and mauled the soldier.
The soldier was stationed at the neighboring Barangay Metebagao and came to Calapaton to join the festivities.
The New People’s Army (NPA)-Mt. Apo Subregional Command said that the indiscriminate shooting exposes the evils of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ so-called Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).
“The RCSP, under the auspice of Oplan Kapayapaan, is actually a smokescreen. Its activities are nothing but a combined psywar and intelligence campaign against the masses meant to control their movement and harass and intimidate them to prevent their just demands for land and other economic and political rights,” the NPA unit said.
Several farmers also reported that soldiers conducting RCSP operations regularly call on them to report. For the farmers, RCSPs are a bane on their livelihoods. At one instance, the farmers were made to wait for a whole day only to be asked by the soldiers if they were able to monitor any movement by the NPA in the area.
There are also reports that soldiers confiscated the residents’ cellphones and were not returned.
Several residents from the RCSP-occupied villages by the 72nd IB complained of the military’s rampant gambling and drinking sprees which started when the soldiers arrived in their communities.