CHR, NTF-ELCAC join hands vs. recent NPA attack in Samar
By Kristina Maralit / Daily Tribune
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) joined hands with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in condemning the brazen and nonstop abuses of the Communist Party of the Philippines – News People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) against civilians and government forces.
Said bodies scored the Reds for yet another violation of International Humanitarian Laws (IHL), the latest being the NPA’s use of Anti-Personnel Mines (APM) against unarmed soldiers in Jipapad, Eastern Samar last 7 July 2021.
“Clearly since these two recent cases came out – the case of the Absalon cousins and this one in Eastern Samar — we have continuously condemned the use of improvised explosive devices such as landmines, simply because it violates the spirit and principle of the International Humanitarian Law”, CHR Deputy Spokesperson Mark Siapno said during the NFT-ELCAC’s virtual presser the other day.
“We condemn all forms of violence, the use of APMs. These crimes by the NPA are all accounted for,” he added and also gave assurance that the CHR will investigate and seek justice for the victims.
Siapno then reiterated the government’s call that the CPP-NPA-NDF should be held accountable for all other crimes they have perpetrated against the Filipino people in violation of the IHL and Human Rights Laws throughout their decades-long proliferation of armed conflict.
The recent attack perpetrated by the NPA against members of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Easter Samar shows the reckless belief of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) that they are allowed to do anything in the pursuit of their ideology and supposed rights, the CHR official noted.
“A case must be filed. The CHR reiterates its stand that no ideology may be used as an excuse to violate laws against human rights or skirt away from responsibilities from the crimes committed. We grieve with the families of the soldiers who died. There is no question that there were human rights violations,” he stated.
Based on the testimony of Eddie Nuncio, chairman of Barangay 4 in the said town, the victims passed by his house just before the attack and verified that they were wearing civilian clothes and “unarmed.”
The AFP and CAFGU personnel were in the area to gather wood to use as “construction materials” to build their camp.
Several minutes later, Nuncio said he heard a big explosion followed by gunfire indicating that government troops were being ambushed and so he radioed for help for possible evacuation as he feared for the life of his family and their residents.
His statements were corroborated by a video footage taken by Nuncio’s companions when they rushed to the ambush site.
Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, meanwhile, condemned the rebels’ use of APMs to ambush his men.
“They (government troops) were there as non-combatants and had no capacity to fight. They are unarmed. This is a blatant violation of International Humanitarian Laws. They shouldn’t have done that,” Diñoso said.