Fear still grips Balilihan folk after clash

By Ric Obedencio | 07:09 PM March 10, 2023

Fear still reigns among the residents in hinterland barangay Hanopol Norte, Balilihan, Bohol a day after the armed encounter between the alleged New Peoples’ Army (NPA) and the government forces at past four in the afternoon on March 10, 2023.

Police Camp Dagohoy source said that nobody was dead, nor wounded in about 10-minute firefight in sitio Badjong of the said barangay as the alleged rebels retreated to safety.

In an interview, 75-year old “Nanay” (whose real identity is withheld for security reasons) told a de-briefing session that she still trembling while sharing her fear. She said that she heard volleys of gunfire, which she thought was just something that explodes. But later on, it was so loud that it is just near her house where she resides, Nanay, who suffered an ailment, just wait her neighbor to help her for she cannot walk alone.

Her neighbor “Nancy” (name withheld) told the debriefing session that she was also in quandary what was going on after she heard of exchange of fire nearby. She also looked after her three little kids who were with her in her abode as her husband was out of town. She said that she tried not to panic and think that they’ll be safe and her kids. She said that was able to help “Nanay.”

“Nanay” said she got away from the deafening firefight and fear when she was transported to her child living about half a kilometer away (along the highway) from where she resides.

Another senior citizen told BNT that she still trembles when sharing her story. She said she was transported to a relative in nearby barangay and spent overnight there but her maintenance medicines were left behind at her home.

The three residents were among the families that undertook psycho-social debriefing when interviewed by BNT.

“Nancy’s” three kids also undertook the de-briefing by the social welfare workers of the municipal and provincial government. The kids, along with other children of the displaced families, were to draw or sketch with the variety of colored pens.

Social workers said that there were total 32 families or 125 individuals, kids included, who were evacuated or displaced to the barangay hall as others to their relatives.

Gov. Aris Aumentado and the Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (OPSWD) paid visit to the evacuees and distributed in the morning food packs to the displaced families and P1,000.00 each family.

A night before just few hours after the skirmish, Cong. Edgar Chatto, his wife Mayor Pureza Chatto and his daughter Vice-Mayor Trisha Chatto and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office (MRRDMO) of Balilihan town did the same.

It was learned that all the displaced families have already back to their respective homes even as the government troopers are still trying to go after the alleged rebels.

Some government authorities still consider Bohol as insurgency-free province. (rvo)

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