CHR, task force close ranks vs. communists
The Commission on Human Rights joined the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in condemning the nonstop violation of International Humanitarian Laws by the Communist Party of the Philippines - News People’s Army - National Democratic Front, especially the use of anti-personnel mine in their recent attack in Jipapad, Eastern Samar where scores of unarmed soldiers were killed and injured.
During the regular virtual press briefing of the NTF-ELCAC held last Monday, CHR Deputy Spokesperson Mark Siapno said, “Malinaw po iyan mula noong naglabas etong two recent cases―sa case ng magpinsang Absalon, kasama ng kaso sa 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”.
“We condemn all forms of violence, the use of APMs,” Siapno said, adding that all “these crimes (by the NPA) are all accounted for,” assuring that the CHR will investigate and seek justice for the victims.
He also reiterated the government’scall for the CPP-NPA-NDF to be held accountable for all other crimes they have perpetrated against the Filipino people in violation of the IHL and Human Rights Laws from the moment they started this armed conflict.
Siapno said the latest ambush staged by the NPAs against the members of Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit in Easter Samar shows the reckless belief of communist terrorist groups that they are allowed to do anything in the pursuit of their ideology and supposed rights.
As a representative of CHR, he also conveyed the Commission’s deepest sympathies to the victims.
Meanwhile, Chieftain Eddie Nuncio, Barangay Chairman of Barangay 4, Papad, said he saw the victims passing by his house just before the attack and verified that they were wearing civilian clothes and were “unarmed.”
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.
“Volume of fire for about 20 minutes followed. May inabutan pa kaming buhay na sundalo. May sundalong patay na nakasando, isang CAFGU at isa pa. May narescue kaming mga buhay, bale apat. Wala silang dalang baril na mahaba”, Nuncio recounted.
He confirmed that the government troops were only carrying pieces of wood which were now covered with bloodstains when they rescued them. He said the soldiers went to the area to get ‘construction materials’ to build their camp.
His statements were corroborated by a video footage taken by Nuncio’s companions when they rushed to the ambush site.
Nuncio said the fatalities were close to him as they were distant relatives living in Barangay 1 and 4. “ Kaya masakit para sa akin,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division pointed out that the terrorist rebels used an APM to kill his soldiers based on Nuncio’s narration that he heard a loud explosion.