Slain UP graduate Chad Booc, his former student at the Salugpungan and Bakwit schools in Mindanao claimed, “is a New People’s Army (NPA) leader and recruiter who is responsible for luring children to become warriors”.
Booc’s former student Rurelyn Bay-ao, claimed Monday during the NTF-ELCAC weekly virtual press briefing, contrary to what left-leaning groups have claimed, Booc is not just a teacher “but a leader in the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).”
Bay-ao, a member of an Indigenous People (IP) tribe in Talaingod, Davao said, she was taught by Booc in the Save Our School Network , a community-based learning scheme allegedlt being used by the CPP-NPA “to lure IP children and train them to become NPA warriors.” “Naging mag-aaral po ako ni teacher Chad. Si Sir Chad ay di basta-basta aktibista lang, at di basta-bastang guro lang, kung di ay NPA mismo,” Bay-ao said in Filipino.
She added that in 2020, she was with Booc, including the time when they were at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City as a member of the so-called Bakwit School where Booc taught and indoctrinated them through “PaDaPa” (Pambansang Demokratikong Paaralan) “on how to fight and overthrow the government.”
Booc was reportedly slain with four other NPA fighters after a 15-minute firefight with the 1001st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army in Purok-8, Barangay Andap, New Bataan, Davao de Oro on February 24, 2022.
Capt. Mark Anthony Tito, Spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said the encounter was part of the Brigade’s relentless operations launched since last year to track down and finish the NPA and eventually free communities from rebel influence.
Gov. Tyron Uy, Governor of Davao de Oro also belied claims that Booc and the other slain NPA fighters were ambushed by the military troops. “I’d like to validate the occurrence of the encounter,” Uy said, pointing out that information from civilian witnesses confirmed the presence of armed men in the area before the firefight. Those information about the fierce encounter came from civilians in the affected hinterland villages, Uy added.
“Wala na kasi silang masa, mahirap na sa kanilang bumaba. Dahil ayaw na ng mga tao sa kanila. And because of our support through and from the ‘whole-of-nation’ approach” the governor explained, referring to the initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte in creating the NTF-ELCAC. “This is the result of lies and deception of the (CPP-NPA-NDF) sa ating mega kabataan.”
Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson for Sectoral Concerns said, “And now the CPP-NPA-NDF and their legal front organizations once again tried to push their narrative that Chad Booc was ambushed by our government forces. This is because he was said to be ‘red-tagged’—these old lines of the CPP-NPA-NDF that the vast majority of our people no longer believed in. Chad Booc was identified by many of his former students such as Rurelyn.”
She added, “very clearly, it was a legitimate encounter with the government troops with the NPAs wherein he is a combatant as testified by the people in New Bataan and Gov. Tyron Uy.