AFP urges victims to file human rights cases vs. NPA
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency
HONORING THE VICTIMS. A member of the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe offers candles and flowers at the Rano Monument on Friday (June 25, 2021) to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the June 25, 1989 massacre in Digos City. The tragedy left 39 individuals – 22 children, 10 women, and seven men – killed on the spot. (PNA photo by Che Palicte)
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has urged victims of the New People's Army (NPA) to file human rights violation cases against the terrorist group for its decades-long atrocities.
AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Maj. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, said Tuesday civilians, including business owners who are victims of humanitarian crimes by the terrorist group, should lodge complaints with the Commission on Human Rights.
“The CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) led by Joma Sison should be answerable to the humanitarian crimes they have been continuously committing, particularly the instruction to produce, stockpile, and use anti-personnel mine(s) that are destroying the human body and the dignity of our people, not only combatants but also (of) the non-combatants,” he said during the virtual press conference of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) highlighting the 32nd anniversary of the Rano massacre.
The Rano massacre was perpetrated by the NPA, the CPP's armed wing, in Sitio Rano in Digos City, Davao del Sur on June 25, 1989, where 39 persons – 22 children, 10 women, and seven men – were killed on the spot.
De Leon listed down several NPA atrocities in June this year that violated the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
Among these were the burning down of privately-owned heavy equipment in Barangay Hagpa, Bukidnon on June 3; the use of anti-personnel mines against civilians that killed athlete Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven Absalon and wounded the latter’s 16-year-old son in Masbate on June 6; the killing of a certain Ray Labustro in Masbate on June 8; and the recruitment of minors and use of child combatants in Agusan del Sur on June 14 and 15.
The most recent of the incidents was the deliberate destruction of private equipment in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur on June 24 that resulted in the death of a civilian.
Meanwhile, 901st Infantry Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. George Banzon, said the NPA targeted privately-owned equipment being used in the ongoing diversion road project for Lanuza.
“We are reaching out to owners of construction companies undergoing construction projects in Surigao to please stop giving in to the NPA’s extortion demands. Please give us information so that the military and police can correspondingly react to any attempt of extortion by the CTG (communist terrorist group),” he said.
AFP Center for the Law on Armed Conflict (AFPCLOAC) Director, Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, said the terrorist group's constant attacks against private companies justify its designation as a terrorist organization.
“These are clear IHL violations committed against civilians not directly participating in hostilities. This pattern of organized, orchestrated, continuing, deliberate, and systematic scheme perpetrated by the CTGs justifies their designation as a terrorist organization,” he said.
The AFPCLOAC has recorded 532 incidents of destruction to private properties perpetrated by the CTGs from 2010 to 2020.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)