Alleged IP youth trafficker, four others fell during a clash in Davao de Oro

A Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) member previously arrested in Cebu City for alleged trafficking of Indigenous Peoples (IP) was killed following a series of armed clashes with the troops of 10th Infantry Division’s 1001st Brigade (1001st Bde) at Purok-8, Barangay Andap, New Bataan, Davao de Oro on February 24, 2022.

The fatality was identified as Chad Errol Booc, and with the elements of Regional Headquarters, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (RHQ, SMRC) led by Eric Jun Casilao alias Wally/Ellan, and the Regional Operations Command, SMRC (ROC, SMRC) led by Leo Lacumbo alias Ole when the troops of 1001st Brigade’s 25th Infantry Battalion engaged them in a series of encounters.

It can be recalled that EastMinCom troops are currently in pursuit operation to track down the elements of RHQ, SMRC after government authorities released wanted posters of Eric Jun Casilao with a bounty of P5.4-Million on his head and who is the possible successor of Menandro Villanueva alias Bok as Commander of the NPA’s National Operations Command.

Another four (4) CTG members slain during the clash identified as Jojarain Alce Nguho II alias Rain, a certain alias Dayday, and two (2) males still unidentified, while an M653 rifle, a caliber .45  pistol, hand grenade, an anti-personnel mine, assorted food supplies, and personal belongings were recovered at the encounter site.

According to the revelation of his former comrades, Chad Booc, who graduated Cum Laude from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in 2016 with a degree of Bachelor of Computer Science, was a known activist and a youth/student recruiter of the CTG before he joined the armed movement.

He was also involved in various protests using IPs against the government, including the Manilakbayan which was organized by the CTG involving IPs from Mindanao in 2015.

He also volunteered as a Science and Mathematics teacher in the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (ALCADEV), a known recruitment machinery and training hub of the CTG in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, and later on, in the Bakwit School in Cebu.

During the press conference of 1001st Infantry Brigade on February 26, 2022, Rurelyn Bay-ao, an IP youth leader from Talaingod, Davao del Norte who previously confessed the radicalization in CTG-linked schools to use them in mass protests and eventually join the armed group, revealed that Booc was his teacher in Haran, Manila, and Cebu Bakwit Schools.

On February 15, 2021, Chad Booc was one of the personalities arrested by government authorities at the University of San Carlos – Talamban Campus in Cebu City after some parents from Talaingod, Davao del Norte reported about the alleged kidnapping of their IP children. The court in Cebu, later on, released him together with six others.

 “After his release, Chad decided to join the armed movement, believing the deception of his superiors that bearing arms is the highest form of struggle,” LtGen. Almerol said.

On the other hand, Jojarain Alce Nguho II was also identified as a former volunteer teacher at the Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao, Inc. (CTCSM), allegedly being run by the CTG in Maco, Davao de Oro, before it was shut down in 2020. His brother Geliejorain Nguho was captured during the encounter at Brgy. Mapula, Paquibato District, Davao City last November 14, 2020, he is also a scholar of Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Incorporated (MISFI) and part time teacher in Haran.

“The death of Booc and Nguho allows us to confirm the identity of these breeding grounds of the CTG, which are hiding behind the walls of so-called Lumad Schools. They are recruiters of the terrorist organization, pretending to be activists and volunteer teachers,” LtGen. Almerol said.

The Commander of EastMinCom LtGen. Greg T. Almerol shared that all CTG-operated schools in the EastMinCom area are closed down by the Department of Education and communities due to incomplete submissions of documentary requirements and complaints from parents on their ways of teaching.

He also reported that since 2019, EastMinCom’s military engineers, in partnership with the Department of Education and Local Government Units, have already built 34 schools in communities formerly influenced by the CTG, while dormitories are also being constructed to house IP students who choose to study in mainstream communities.

Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol expressed his condolences to the bereaved families of the slain CTG members, whom he said were victims of the CTG’s deception and wrong ideology.

“This would not have happened if they took heed with our offer to abandon the armed struggle. Their only choice was to yield instead of sacrificing their lives for a terroristic cause,” he said.

LtGen. Almerol also urged the remaining CTG leaders and members to peacefully surrender to the government before they face the consequences of their atrocities.

“For those who will choose to surrender, various government’s services through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) are waiting on your return. For those who will remain, we will relentlessly hunt you down until you will have no other option but to lay down your arms,” LtGen. Almerol warned.