SAN JUAN, Batangas - Members of the Eduardo Dagli Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Batangas claimed responsibility for the killing of a village chief in the town of San Juan last week.
Barangay captain Mario Valdez Sulit, chief of Barangay Hugom, was shot by a motorcycle-riding suspect past 8 p.m. last March 1 just as he was entering his garage.
He was rushed to the San Juan District Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
In a statement released by the NPA, the group claimed victory over an operation that they referred to as a form of punishment for someone who has been going against the will of the people.
“Mahabang panahon nang idinadaing ng masang magsasaka at mangingisda si Sulit dahil sa aktibo nitong pagpapatupad sa interes ng mga amo nitong debeloper at pagpapatupad ng mga anti-mamamayang mga polisiya particular sa mga bayan ng San Juan at Lobo,” the statement read.
The rebels cited instances wherein some fishermen were prohibited to cross the sea in front of high-end resorts and their boats were shot at in an attempt to shoo them away.
They accused Sulit of supporting anti-poor programs of the local government that destroy the livelihood of fisherfolks.
“Maging babala ito sa sinumang indibidwal na sagad-sagaring nagpapagamit sa estado, mga ganid na debeloper at pasistang military at aktibong lumalahok sa mga kontra-rebolusyonaryong pakana tulad ng paniniktik, pandarahas at pamiminsala sa kabuhayan at karapatan ng karaniwang mamamayan,” the group warned.
Barangay Hugom is home to several high-end resorts in what is popularly known as Laiya. Thousands of tourists frequent the place and big developers have entered the market in recent years.