MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday condemned the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for continuing to manufacture anti-personnel mines (APM) after government troops raided a bomb-making terrorist camp in an upland village in Dolores, Eastern Samar on Monday.
“Kahit na mahigpit na ipinagbabawal ng batas at ng International Humanitarian Law (IHL), patuloy pa rin ang mga communist terrorist groups (CTGs) sa paggawa ng mga bomba na kikitil sa buhay ng mga tao. Wala talaga silang konsiyensya at walang pakialam kung sino ang mapinsala, sundalo, pulis man o sibilyan, basta makapaghasik ng lagim at maagaw ang kapangyarihan mula sa gobyerno (Despite the prohibition under the law and the IHL, the CTGs continue to manufacturing bombs that kill people. They really have no conscience and they don't care if these cause damage to anyone -- whether a soldier, police officer or civilian -- as long as they continue to sow terror and manage to grab power from the government,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año in a news release.
Año said the CPP-NPA seems to have a short memory and have conveniently forgotten the murder of Far Eastern University player Keith Absalon and his cousin Nolven who died while biking after the communist terrorists in Masbate detonated an APM in June of this year.
“Tila nakalimutan na agad ng CPP-NPA kung paano nagalit ang publiko sa pagkamatay ng mga Absalon dahil sa kahayupan nila. Kunwari ay humingi pa sila ng tawad sa mga namatayan pero ang totoo ay wala silang budhi dahil tuloy pa rin ang paggawa at paggamit nila ng APM (It seems the CPP-NPA have forgotten about the public outrage caused by the death of the Absalons, which is an effect of their cruelty. They even asked forgiveness from the bereaved family but the truth is they are heartless because they continue to make and use APM),” he said.
The use of landmines is a violation of the Ottawa Convention or the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty signed by 133 states and adapted by 164 state parties, including the Philippines. It prohibits the production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of anti-personnel mines (APMs) which cause serious destruction and indiscriminately harm civilians, including children. The use of landmines is also a violation of Republic Act 9851 which penalizes crimes against the International Humanitarian Law.
Based on reports from the Philippine National Police Regional Office 8 and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Año said the Joint Task Force Storm of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (8ID) based in Catbalogan City launched ground, air, and sea raids in Barangay Osmeña after getting a tip from locals on an explosives manufacturing site and NPA camp in the area.
He said 19 NPA members died in the day-long encounter while there were no casualties from government forces. Twenty-nine high-powered firearms were also seized from the CTGs during the raid.
“The DILG congratulates the 8th Infantry Division for its successful operation against Communist Terrorists. This operation is a big blow to the terrorism-capacity of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Samar,” he said.
According to the AFP, at least 29 villages in Eastern Samar are still NPA strongholds while at least 45 new villages in the province have already been cleared of communist terrorists.
���The CPP-NPA is fighting a losing battle. Habang may panahon pa ay sumuko na kayo at magbagong-buhay dahil kailan man ay hindi nagwawagi ang karahasan at kasamaan (Surrender now while it is early and start a new life because violence and evil will never win),” said Año.
The DILG chief urged the NPA to grab the chance to reform and lead new lives through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), a complete package of assistance to former rebels (FRs).
So far, a total of 6,418 former rebels (FRs) and rebel sympathizers have laid down their arms and availed of E-CLIP. Of this number, 6,164 FRs have each received P15,000 immediate assistance; 3,744 were given P50,000 livelihood assistance; 1,430 have availed of firearms remuneration, and 5,198 have each been granted with P21,000 reintegration through the DILG’s E-CLIP.
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. (PR)