Himamaylan NPA victims return home
Residents were allowed to come home after weeks of being terrorized.
For weeks, battles between AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) forces and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels ensued.
Due to this, nearly 18,000 residents from Barangays Carabalan and Cabadiangan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental were evacuated. They had to take shelter in schools and evacuation centers.
On October 10, Romeo Nanta (Juanito Magbanua), a regional commander, was killed in Carabalan. Nanta was a regional commander and spokesperson of communist elements in the Negros-Bohol-Cebu-Siquijor territories.
303IB chief Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte called him “the most wanted terrorist in Negros Island,” adding that his death “is a big blow to the NPA.”
Rebels Without a Cause
In 2011, Nanta was arrested for murder, frustrated murder, robbery, and damage to properties.
“He is, directly and indirectly, responsible for the death of soldiers, policemen, Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit, and innocent civilians,” said Pasaporte.
“He is also responsible for the ambush of policemen in Binalbagan early this year.”
Due to this, the city’s Incident Management Team conducted a command conference with the AFP last Saturday. They arrived at the recommendation that evacuees be allowed to return home beginning October 15.
Home Sweet Home
This decision affected evacuees formerly sheltered in Don Florencio Villafranca National High School and Manuel Yulo Elementary School.
The next day, October 16, an advisory was posted on the Facebook account of Mayor Raymund Tongson. It stated that the evacuees at the Carabalan Elementary School and Covered Court were also allowed to return. However, it added that evacuees from Sitio Campayas, Sig-an, and Medel will still have to stay at the temporary shelters.
“Clearing operations were still ongoing in all sitios in Barangay Carabalan,” said Pasaporte. However, some sitios have already been cleared of NPA threats, hence the go signal.
He assured that some evacuees could return to their houses within the week.
According to Mayor Tongson, only about 3,500 of the nearly 18,000 people who fled their homes remained in evacuation centers.
He also called on Himamaylan residents “to continue to pray to achieve long-term peace in our community.”