CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The Army’ 4th Infantry Division (4ID) successfully disposed of more than 70 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) seized from the communist terrorist groups (CTG), commonly known as the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
In a press release Sunday, the 4ID said 77 assorted IEDs purposely made as anti-personnel landmines (APMs) were safely detonated in Barangay Tignapoloan, Cagayan de Oro City on Oct. 1 by the 10th Forward Service Support Unit (10FSSU) under Lt. Col. Vladimir DC Sta. Maria.
The 10FSSU was assisted by personnel from the 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Platoon, 2nd EOD Company of the EOD Battalion of the Army Support Command.
"The biggest of the IEDs is a 20-liter container-sized explosive device that could have easily killed or injured innocent civilians had it not been captured by the government troops,” Sta. Maria said, adding that the disposal operation was successfully conducted with all safety protocols followed.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner, Jr., 4ID commander, said the IEDs/APMs seized or captured from the CTG by the battalions of 4ID will be continuously disposed of.
Brawner, Jr. added that the recent disposal of the APMs was made to ensure that they will not be used anymore since it is strictly prohibited and a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Ottawa Treaty.
"The continued production and use of APMs and other types of IEDs by the CPP-NPA-NDF proved that they have no regard on the value of human life and the sacredness of a human body as its use as a method to defeat an adversary is inhumane and unnecessary,” Brawner said.
Under the Ottawa treaty or the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) Ban Convention, the use of anti-personnel mines is prohibited. It prohibits the production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of APMs to ensure the implementation of humanitarian rules restricting armed violence.
"We call on the CTG to stop using APMs and other IEDs that put our people in grave danger. While your Army continuously assures commitment to strictly adhere to the IHL, we implore the CTG to abide and respect the IHL and the laws of armed conflict, or else we will ensure that they will be held accountable and be brought to justice,” he added.
The IHL is a set of rules that limit the effects of armed conflict and protect civilians who are not participating in the hostilities. It also restricts the means and methods of warfare.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PR)