• NPA accuses military of spying

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    THE New People’s Army (NPA) on Tuesday accused the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of spying through unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone, which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently used in its alleged anti-logging aerial reconnaissance.

    “The NPA maintains that the DENR/Skyeye’s anti-logging aerial reconnaissance is merely a pretext to intensify imperialist mining plunder and counter-revolutionary intelligence in Southern Mindanao. The motives of Skyeye’s reconnaissance are suspicious, considering that Maco is not a hotspot for logging as its forests are largely denuded and its mountains mainly mineral-rich,” said Daniel Ibarra, spokesper-son, NPA ComVal-Davao Gulf Sub-Regional Command.

    But the AFP, through spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, said that the NPA’s allegation was a delusion of grandeur, falsely believing that the military is spying on them.

    “It was paranoia on the part of the NPA for believing that the civilians were suing the UAV for intelligence surveillance even calling them as instruments of mass genocide and civil destruction,” Zagala said even as he pointed out that a UAV is not a spying equipment alone but can also be used for other services supporting development such as what the DENR did.

    “They used an unmanned aerial vehicle for anti-logging aerial reconnaissance and not for intelligence surveillance,” Zagala added.

    Zagala said it was not the first time the NPAs abducted civilians in Compostela Valley.

    Last month, NPA’s Guerilla Front 2 and Pulang Bagani Command 6 members took 39 civilians as human shields in Barangay Golden Valley in Mabini town.

    Meanwhile, DENR thanked Duterte for the unconditional release of the surveyors and driver.

    “In behalf of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, our sincerest thanks to Mayor Duterte for his help in freeing the Skyeye personnel without any condition,” Paje said.

    He stressed that the agency is using the state-of-art technology to ensure transparency in NGP.

    “Using this technology will prevent the occurrence of ghost sites/projects and ensure that investment of government will be protected. It will also ensure accountability of DENR officials in the field,” Paje said.

    WITH REPORT FROM JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ

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