By RIGOBERTO SANCHEZ
Spokesperson, NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
Members of the people’s militia in Elizalde, Maco town, Compostela Valley stealthily operated command-detonated explosives on 15 March killing four fascist troops belonging to the 71st Infantry Battalion of the Philippines Army, and wounding several others. Today (18 March), Red fighters belonging to the Guerilla Front 27 Operations Command ambushed troops from the 66th Infantry Battallion at 9:30 a.m. in Barangay (village) Cabidianan, Nabunturan town.
These were the seventh and eighth tactical offensive by the New People’s Army using command-detonated explosives this year that is directed against the Philippine Army’s 60th, 66th, 57th , 28th and 71st Infantry Battalions, and Division Reconnaissance Company — all butchers and private armies of environmentally destructive large-scale mining and logging companies in the region. The NPA deploys explosives for its annihilative and attritive actions to inflict damage to the enemy and sink its morale.
The Guerilla Front 27 Red fighters earlier today at 6:00 a.m. also arrested two police officers at a checkpoint in Barangay Mainit, Nabunturan. The NPA checkpoint was part of its regular operations against undesirable elements in the area and the abusive Special Operations Teams under Oplan Bayanihan.
Arrested and presently held as prisoner of war is Police Officer 3 Ruben Magno Nojapa, Jr., 50, who is assigned at the Nabunturan Police station. Briefly held but was able to escape from NPA clutches was PNP SPO2 Randy Masambo. Red fighters confiscated Masambo’s service firearm, a 9mm handgun.
On 15 March, a team from the 1st Pulang Bagani Company of the NPA also shot and wounded the commanding officer of the Special Operations Team of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Paquibato district. Indeed, the 10th Infantry Division-AFP is staggering from the series of command-detonated explosions and special operations of the New People’s Army. The morale of AFP troops is sinking, so much so that it has turned its fangs against the civilians. At the same time, its propaganda machinery demonstrates hypocrisy at every turn by calling the explosives illegitimate weapon of use in warfare.
The AFP’s desperate measures are pathetic, cowardly and duplicitous. Blind and oblivious to the blows of the people’s army who are ready anywhere, anytime in the revolutionary territories of the People’s Democratic Government, the 10th Infantry Division has resorted to unleashing its wrath towards the peasant masses.
Thirty minutes after the NPA exploded the command-detonated mines earlier today, two military MG-520 helicopters dropped off bombs in Barangay Cabidianan. In Baguio district, the 84th Infantry Battalion has ordered the evacuation of Lumads following the NPA’s ambush against the Army-PNP composite forces of 8 March, yielding 11 casualties in the battlefield.
The AFP has resurrected the Blackfighters and ordered the wily, opportunist Lumad leader Joel Unad and one pastor Cesar Malinaw to sow terror in the district. Using as pretext the NPA’s killing of military spy Paulino “Jun” Landim on 2 March, the 84th Infantry Battalion and Lumad opportunists commanded civilians from the villages of Laputan, Kisagaay, Likuyan, and Kahayagan to evacuate starting on 16 March. The fascist Army trains its guns against hungry and impoverished peasants and Lumads in Tambobong and Carmen villages, who were already victimized by landslides and recent calamities and neglected by inept social welfare authorities.
Extra-judicial killing of civilian activists like Cristina Jose in Baganga, Davao Oriental is also the handiwork of the 10th ID — a tactic meant to diffuse the impact of Typhoon Pablo and mounting people’s struggle against the corrupt and insensitive US-Aquino regime.
As human rights abuses fall flat in the face of the deceitful AFP, it hypocritically accuses the NPA of using banned weapons like the command-detonated explosives. The accusation is not only unfounded but also hollow in the face of the AFP’s prohibited use of civilian structures like day care centers, barangay halls, and schools as headquarters for its Special Operations Teams and combat troops.
The NPA reiterates that the use of command-detonated explosives are clearly within the bounds of international humanitarian law. Unlike “pressure-detonated” or “victim-detonated” mines, the command-detonated explosives used by the NPA against the AFP/PNP/paramilitary forces only explode when switched by the detonating officer of an NPA unit or a people’s militia upon the order of the NPA’s commanding officer.
Again, the AFP demonstrates its hypocrisy when its very own SOT operations — its so-called peace and development team operations — do not discriminate civilians from armed targets, and when its use of bomb-carrying helicopters and MG15 choppers do not recognize civilians, and considers civilian villages as enemy lairs and counter-revolutionary targets.
As environmental destruction and loss of people’s livelihood intensifies with the continued large-scale mining, logging and plantation businesses in the region, more and more AFP troops and paramilitary forces that serve as its security guards become easy targets and sources of arms of the NPA and the people’s militia. The people’s army will continue to deliver lethal blows to the enemy, unstoppable in the face of the massive concentration of AFP troops in the region and increasing number of weak points in the enemy.
(sgd) Rigoberto F. Sanchez
Spokesperson, NPA Regional Operations Command
Southern Mindanao Region