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NPA attacks on civilians in Bicol prove anti-dev't stance: AFP

By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency

AFP chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana (File photo)

MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana branded the unprovoked attack against civilians in the Bicol Region, which killed two people and wounded five others, a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and a demonstration of the communist terrorists' lack of concern for development.

“The NPA (New People's Army) crime against innocent civilians is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law. It is a clear manifestation of their anti-people and anti-development ways that are worthy of the Filipino’s condemnation,” he said in a statement forwarded to reporters on Monday night.

On Sunday morning, Keith Absalon, a varsity football player for the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, and his cousin Nolven, died after an anti-personnel mine (APM) believed to have been planted by the NPA exploded while they were cycling in Barangay Anas, Masbate City. Absalon's 16-year-old nephew, Chrisbin, was also wounded in the incident.

“The AFP extends its sincerest condolences to the families and loved ones left behind by Keith and Nolven Absalon. Both were victims of injustice and criminal predisposition of the abhorred CTGs (communist terrorist groups). The military and police are one with the victims’ families in seeking justice for their untimely death,” Sobejana said.

On the same day, another explosion injured four motorists, including a lawyer, in Barangay Homapon, Legazpi City, Albay.

"These incidents will add to the data collated by AFP on the CTG's usage of anti-personnel mines. It shows a nationwide pattern of organized, orchestrated, continuing, deliberate and systematic scheme perpetrated by these violent extremists which justify their designation as a terrorist organization," AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict director Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro S. Nacnac said.

Meanwhile, troops from the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion are currently hunting down the perpetrators while tightening security measures in the area.

“The attacks against non-combatants are desperate attempts by the CTGs to regain influence and support from the people who have grown tired of their deception and are now denouncing their lawless activities,” Sobejana said.

The use of APMs is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law and the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention adopted by the international community, prohibiting the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of weapons.

The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)



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