Mass evacuation in Giporlos communist-instigated, Army spokesman says
By Eli C. Dalumpines
Tacloban City (18 April) -- There seems to have been a pattern in the alleged “forced evacuation” involving residents of interior barangays in Samar provinces lately. In all those, the hands of the communists are visible.
Capt. Jose Mario Chico, spokesperson of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Camp Lukban here, in an interview Tuesday, said the reported mass evacuation in Giporlos, Eastern Samar somewhat follows a pattern similar to those that took place in Calbiga and Basey towns in Samar.
Capt. Chico cited reports that Brgy. Chairman Napoleon “Poli” Lacdao of Brgy. Huknan of Giporlos town in Eastern Samar, where the reported mass evacuation took place early last week, went down to the poblacion prior to the incident and spread rumors that there was a series of encounters between the government troops and the New People’s Army (NPA) in his barangay.
He then urged some of the residents to come down with him to the poblacion to avoid being victimized by the military when they retaliate for alleged the heavy casualties they sustained in those encounters with the NPA.
But the military in the area belied reports of having sustained heavy casualties since, in the first place, there was not even a single encounter between the army and the NPA in the said barangay or in the neighboring barangays.
Lt. Col. Glorivine Dida, Commanding Officer of the 34th Infantry Battalion operating in the southern part of Eastern Samar, reported though that his troops were conducting Special Operations Team (SOT) in the interior barangays of Giporlos to clear the area of insurgents.
According to Chico, Lacdao instigated the incident to place the military in the limelight by charging them with military abuses.
He further claimed the report of the Leyte Center for Development (LCDE) of some 83 families who evacuated to the poblacion was an exaggeration since there were only 20 based on the records of the Municipal Social Welfare Office (MSWDO).
The LCDE report was even disputed by Giporlos Mayor Mateo Biong who confirmed the MSDWO records, the army spokesperson said.
Capt. Chico said Chairman Lacdao has alleged links with the communist rebels and was even reported to have participated in their violent activities but they have yet to confirm the reports. (PIA-Samar) [top]