By KARLOS MANUEL
Spokesperson, Efren Martires Command
NPA Eastern Visayas
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The Efren Martires Command of the New People’s Army-Eastern Visayas said today that Red fighters harassed elements of the 78th Infantry Battalion (of the Philippine Army) on 11 December, between Barangays (villages) Roxas and Villa Aurora, Burauen town, in Leyte. “The harassment action launched by the Mt. Amandewin Command is in support of the resistance against militarization by the residents of Brgy. Roxas and other villages,” said EMC spokesperson Ka Karlos Manuel.
“The people’s grievances go to show that the so-called ‘peace and development’ operations under Oplan Bayanihan merely brazenly cover up militarization in the countryside of Leyte. The Red fighters fired on operating troops of the 78th IB at 10:15 a.m. There were no casualties reported on either side, however.”
Manuel said the residents of Brgy. Roxas and other villages are opposing the danger and disruption of livelihood caused by military operations.
“The people of Brgy. Roxas and other villages have protested the military operations in their area to Burauen Mayor Fe Renomeron. The military operations were initiated last November by the 4th Special Forces Company and continued by the 78th IB. Consequently, the people have been unable to do copra production, their means of livelihood.
The soldier’s presence in the villages and farmlands of civilians also violates international humanitarian law, which calls for the protection of civilians in the midst of war. But Mayor Renomeron is not lifting a finger to help her constituents and address the people’s grievances.”
The EMC spokesperson said the NPA is in solidarity with the people’s struggle against militarization and the ending of the impunity of human rights violators.
“The harassment action and other offensives by the NPA take care to spare civilians and to hit only legitimate targets. The NPA also supports the demand for justice by civilians in militarized areas of Burauen and other parts of Leyte. They can raise their complaints to the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
If Mayor Renomeron and other local government officials refuse to heed the people’s plea for justice and are going along with the military operations, they may also be accused as accomplices of the 8th Infantry Division (Philippine Army) in violationg human rights and international humanitarian law.”