KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato – In the spirit of Bayanihan, the Philippine Army is geared on protecting the Filipino people and defending the nation with other stakeholders on equal foot. However, with the deception of NPA rebels, the fight for peace and development is hindered and prevented.
In the recent NPA atrocity last October 21, 2013, Monday, personnel of the 38th Infantry Battalion were on their way to Barangay Bacong, Tulunan, North Cotabato to distribute the subsistence allowance of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGUs) when members of the criminal armed group New People’s Army treacherously detonated a landmine that instantly rendered the personnel of 38th Infantry Battalion incapable to fight in Sitio Manggi, Barangay Bituan, Tulunan, North Cotabato, one of the declared peace zones in Tulunan, at around 9:10 in the morning. However, the NPA even peppered our wounded troops with bullets even on their faces.
The same atrocity occurred at Purok 2, Barangay Luna Norte, Makilala at about 11:25am to the reinforcing troops of the 57th Infantry Battalion, wherein the landmine was within the immediate vicinity of the civilian population, which could harm civilians and non-combatants.
In a press statement of the NDF, the group directly acknowledged their criminal act justifying their deceitful actions. With these two heinous crimes of the NPA, nine families lost a father and a provider of the families’ daily need. They even hid to the public the robbery they committed during their attack. They robbed the families of the CAFGUs a total amount of P2,135,430.00, which was intended to provide the daily needs of about 753 CAFGUs’ families.
During a press conference held at Kidapawan City this Saturday morning, Honorable Rudy Caoagdan, Municipal Mayor of Makilala said, “We seriously condemn the violent acts of the New People’s Army that endanger the lives of the people. These atrocities should be put to a stop. They do not contribute to the peace and development of our nation and they jeopardize our economic progress, and worst, they destroy the people’s only source of living by burning and destroying developmental projects and business establishments.”
From 2010 to date, the NPA has deliberately harmed a total of 471 civilians and military personnel through detonation of landmines in eastern Mindanao alone. Among these are 75 civilian casualties, with 27 killed and 48 wounded, while the military suffered 396 casualties, with 109 killed and 287 wounded.
The Comprehensive Agreement on Respect to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) protects civilians, non-combatants and hors de combat or those soldiers who are wounded and rendered incapable to fight. But the NPA has no regard to the signed agreement of the National Democratic Front and the Communist Party and even disregarded the plea of the wounded soldiers who couldn’t fight anymore.
“The 10th Infantry Division vehemently condemns the acts of the criminal group New People’s Army in using landmines, robbery and their explicit violation of CARHRIHL, that endanger the lives of civilians and non-combatants. This likewise manifests the armed group’s utter disregard for human rights and International Humanitarian Law as they continue to defy the international ban on the use of landmines”, said Major General Ariel Bernardo, Commander of the 10th Infantry Division.
“With the Bayanihan efforts of all peace loving stakeholders, we can give justice to our fallen troops and to those victims of the atrocities of the New People’s Army”, Major General Bernardo added.