Red fighters belonging to the New People’s Army Comval Davao East Coast Sub-Regional Operations Command served an order to disarm the fanatic paramilitary group MANADU or the Mandaya Ancestral Defense Unit when they were attacked by its notorious leaders on the evening of December 30, 2016 in Sitio Calatagan, Brgy. Poblacion, Caraga, Davao Oriental. Acting on self-defense, the NPA fought and killed notorious warlord Cupertino Banugan, his brother Ramon and a relative Dodo Banugan. The Red fighters also seized two high-powered rifles. Four NPA guerillas were wounded in the ensuing firefight.
The suffering masses of Caraga rejoice the killing of the Banugans who, with the aid of the fascist AFP, have wielded absolute fascist control over the peasant and Lumad communities in Caraga since the US-Arroyo regime under the Oplan Bantay Laya counter-revolutionary campaign.
Cupertino used his title as the tribal chieftain to usurp 14,000 hectares of land owned by the Iligan, Bayon, Silat, Tibay and Panin clans of Caraga. He systematically extorted land rent from the poor Mandaya peasants. Cupertino collected 10% from the gross sale of abaca and other products of the farmers, including marijuana. He deducted 10% from any economic project established in his turf. He collected thousands from each of the 300 families who were victims of Typhoon Pablo. He amassed at least two million pesos yearly from his extortion activities.
Cupertino grew to become more brutal and exploitative, aiding the abetting the fascist 67th IB in its counter-revolutionary operations in Caraga, Davao Oriental.
It is also common knowledge among the Mandaya communities of Caraga that Cupertino and Ramon Banugan were responsible for the murder of Romeo Mapando, Modesto Lagungan and Male Lagungan. They also tried to kill Julieto Bayon and Bitoy Usto. Most of the victims were Caragan residents who were unjustly dispossessed of their lands and tried to oppose the Banugans’ despotic rule.
Fascist enemy forces like the Banugans who wreak havoc on the lives of the peasant and Lumad masses and are forcibly entering guerilla zones and guerilla bases are legitimate targets of the people’s army. The NPA Subregional Command respects and obeys the guidelines set by the Communist Party of the Philippines Central Committee regarding the defensive military actions of the NPA in the time of unilateral ceasefire under the policy of active defense against provocative interference of military and paramilitary forces in guerilla zones. The killing of the Banugans should serve as a warning to other warlords and fascist fanatic groups who abuse and terrorize the masses and rule with impunity in peasant communities.