Army exhumes remains of NPA execution victim
By Alexander Lopez / Philippine News Agency
NPA EXECUTION VICTIM. Authorities are still determining the identity of the remains exhumed by 36IB troopers in Sitio Avelino, Barangay Cabangahan, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur on July 28, 2021. A former rebel said the remains belonged to a civilian who was summarily executed by the New People’s Army after an encounter in Sitio Avelino on May 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of 36IB)
BUTUAN CITY – The Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion (36IB) has reported the exhumation of the skeletal remains of a victim of summary execution by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Surigao del Sur.
In a statement on Wednesday, the 36IB condemned the NPA for the killing of a civilian whose identity is still being determined by the authorities.
The remains were exhumed in Sitio Avelino, Barangay Cabangahan in Cantilan town on July 28.
“The discovery of (the) gravesite was made possible through the help and revelation of a former rebel (FR) from Guerrilla Front 16C1 of the NPA who surrendered to this unit,” the 36IB said.
Based on the narration of the FR, the NPA rebels of Guerrilla Front 30, led by a certain Ricky Azarcon Mahinay, alias Amara, were evading the pursuing 36IB troopers after an encounter in Barangay Cabangahan on May 11.
While retreating from the encounter site, the insurgents chanced upon a civilian who was following a trail in Sitio Avelino.
“The NPA terrorists held the civilian and accused him of being a government spy. He was then blindfolded and tied to a tree. The victim was stabbed several times using a jungle bolo. He was then buried in a knee-deep grave in Sitio Avelino,” the 36IB said.
Even the FR who relayed the information did not know who the victim was, the statement added.
The 36IB troops and the FR immediately proceeded to Sitio Avelino and exhumed the remains of the victim of summary execution by the NPA rebels.
The skeletal remains were brought to the police station of Cantilan for proper disposition and identification.
“This inhumane act of the Communist NPA Terrorists violates the Rule of Law, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law,” Lt. Col. Michael Rey Reuyan, 36IB commander, said in the same statement.
Reuyan pointed out that laws “prohibit the killing of civilians, mistreating anyone in custody, and convicting anyone in proceedings that do not meet international fair trial standards.”
The NPA rebels, he added, have been committing human rights violations by killing and terrorizing innocent civilians for more than 50 years.
“The terrorism of the NPA insurgents must end as the peace-loving people of Surigao del Sur join the Army in condemning such summary executions of innocent civilians. The people want justice and lasting peace in the province of Surigao del Sur,” Reuyan said.
“Rest assured that the 36IB will press the fight against these ruthless murderers and violators of human rights and international humanitarian law and bring justice to our innocent and peace-loving communities.”
He also appealed to the NPA rebels in Surigao del Sur to come down, lay down their arms, and return to the fold of the law.
“Avail (of) the government intervention, particularly the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, and live a peaceful life together with your families,” Reuyan said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines - NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council. (PNA)