BESAO CONDEMNS WAR.. Written by Melany Eslao Timmango
The tranquility of the afternoon was disturbed by gunfires coming from Naltit then Batikalang, below Angasan (Ampacao), pasture lands and forest areas of Suquib, this municipality. The encounter between lawless elements and government troopers ensued at past 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon. Earsplitting gun shots were clearly and blaringly heard at barangays Suquib, Besao East and Besao West.
The municipal officials, employees representing the different offices of the Besao Local Government Unit and the DILG family (MLGOO Ray Fiar-od, Fire Marshall Ireneo Agcapen and BFP personnel) were on their way back to Kin-iway from Ambagiw when they were informed of the incident. The group attended the barangay assembly of Ambagiw. Upon reaching the municipal hall, Vice Mayor June Lopsoten, MLGOO Fiar-od and MDRRMO Engr. Mildred Piluden activated the DRRM Operations Center. Mayor Johnson Bantog II was out of town due to official functions. Initial information that reached the group was the presence of a wounded army. The municipal ambulance ferrying personnel from the Besao BFP Station was immediately dispatched to Suquib accompanied by military forces. Three (3) hours after, the responders delivered not only a wounded comrade but one other lifeless soul.
He was a young, good-looking brethren who chose to work for his country and defend its people from terrorist acts. He was Corporal Felimon Anilom Naganag of Calanan and Tabuk City, Kalinga who was assigned at the Special Forces Regiment and Airforce of the Philippine Army. Cpl Naganag perished due to sustained 2 gunshot wounds (1st at his back and the 2nd on his head). According to one of his comrades, Cpl. Naganag was heard saying, “Adda tamak” then later, silence….
Cpl. Naganag was declared dead on arrival by Dr. Yolanda Calicdan of the Besao District Hospital at 8.04 last night. Meanwhile, Patrolman Hebron B. Awisan of the PNP was responding to Cpl. Naganag when he sustained a gunshot wound on his left arm. He was attended by the medical staff at the BDH and was declared under a stable condition by Dr. Calicdan. Patrolman Awisan was transferred to another hospital facility this morning. Likewise, the body of Cpl. Naganag was airlifted to Tabuk City at around 12.19 this afternoon.
According to residents of Suquib, they heard gunshots emanating from Naltit at around 2.15PM. By 4PM, Barangay Captain Frederick Andogan activated the BDRRM Operations Center. The barangay chairman with two other barangay officials accompanied by military personnel who arrived from the PHQ to provide reinforcement stationed themselves at Lamagan, Suquib to wait for the arrival of the soldier who was earlier reported as wounded in action. They were later joined by the personnel from the Besao BFP Station.
It can be recalled that due to the armed conflict between the forces of the 81st IB and members of the New Peoples Army on the mountain top of Sitio Dandanac, Tamboan on July 14-15, 2018, the Municipal Peace and Order Council of this municipality passed Resolution No. 02 s. 2018 re Banning the Presence and Conducting Illegal Activities by Lawless Elements in the Municipality of Besao. Likewise, all barangays of the municipality enacted their own barangay ordinances re the same sentiment. (Barangay Gueday which is one of the 2 ELCAC areas of the municipality was the first to enact their barangay ordinance.) Regrettably, the municipal resolution and the barangay ordinance of Suquib did not reach the eyes and ears of the lawless elements, thus their presence on the pasture lands above the community.
Situation report from the Besao Mps states that the government troopers were conducting prophylactic patrol at the vicinity of Barangay Suquib when they were fired upon by undetermined number of armed group believed to be members of the KLG AMPIS under Lupito Wigit @ Tangkib.
To the concerned, please respect the barangay ordinances and the MPOC Resolution of this municipality. Please spare this humble town from war. The armed conflict yesterday brought disruption to the daily routines of our farmers and government offices alike. It also brought us sleepless night and nightmares last night. During the armed clash between the opposing forces at Sitio Dandanac last year, some non-government organizations (outside Besao) clamored for the decampment of military forces in the municipality. Howbeit, Mayor Bantog professed that they stay. “They are government forces; they have vowed to protect the country and it’s people, so they stay,” he asserted.
UPDATE.. At around 3.08PM today, a thunderous explosion erupted. A thick smoke believed to have come from the explosion was clearly seen in the vicinity of Pak-o, a farmland area of Besao East.
Last night I had a nightmare. In my dream, I was in my office when I witnessed one nearby building shattered by a bomb. More than an hour ago, I and other employees ran to our windows and verandas after we heard the roaring explosion and saw the smoke coming from the farmlands of my own barangay. This brings back memories of the late 1980s when we also witnessed and heard gunshots coming from the mountains just accross our own homes.
God, we pray for peace on earth and good will to men.