Correspondence Indiscriminate bombings, a scourge on Agusanons and Surigaonons

This article is available in Pilipino

Last year, the New People’s Army-Northeast Mindanao recorded at least five incidents of indiscriminate bombing and strafing by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Agusan and Surigao del Sur. Information gathered by the NPA-NEMR in the affected communities said one civilian was injured and another remains missing. The bombings left residents, especially children and the elderly, traumatized as well as it damaged their crops and the environment. This further infuriated the Agusanons and Surigaonons against the abusive soldiers.

The bombings coincided with intensive and coordinated military operations and deceptive programs called the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) and Enhanced Community, Livelihood and Integration Program (E-CLIP). These programs serve as cover for military harassment and intimidation of peasants, as well as illegal arrests and secret detentions, and forced surrenders. (Read the article Military “quarantine,” prison of “surrendered” civilians in Surigao del Sur in the April 7, 2024 issue of Ang Bayan.)

These operations are behind the AFP declarations that Agusan and Surigao del Sur are “insurgency-free”. These are serious violations of international humanitarian law and protocols that value the welfare and safety of civilians during armed clashes.


On March 15, 2023, at 6 p.m., the military fired a rocket and for six times strafed the farms and mountainous areas of Barangay Pili, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. Bombs from helicopters fell near homes leaving bomb casings in their land. Because of the danger, residents were forced to evacuate to the barangay gymnasium.

Earlier, on March 14 at 2 p.m., the NPA opened fire on the 65th IB troopers operating in Barangay Pinanggalaan, in the said province. Two soldiers were killed.

In Barangay Maitom, San Martin, Prosperidad in the same province, peasants quickly left their homes after four bombs were dropped from a Super Tucano while cannons were fired an estimated five times on May 18, 2023. It happened at a distance of 200 meters from their huts.

In Barangay Bigaan, Tagbina, Surigao del Sur, the Philippine Air Force dropped two bombs in July 2023. A resident says one of their villagers was injured when the bombs exploded near his house. Another resident remains missing to date. Fearing public exposure of their crime, the AFP asked the local government secretly to treat the wounded civilian. After the incident, the police forced residents to evacuate by scaring them about being used by the people’s army as “human shields.” Before the bombing, the NPA fired at the 67th IB troops in the mountainous part of the said village killing two and wounding another.

In September 2023, the powerful explosion of four aerial bomds shook residents who were out in their fields. The explosion happened a mere 300-500 meters away from their huts. The farmers immediately fled the field for fear of being hit.

In Barangay La Purisima, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, coconut, banana and other fruit crops were destroyed in farms that were hit by four bombs using a Super Tucano in the early morning of September 30, 2023. Eight artillery shells were fired in the direction of an NPA unit’s resting place. After the bombing, the NPA encountered the 3rd Special Forces Company troopers where two corporals, a sergeant and a Private First class were reported killed.

Indiscriminate bombings, a scourge on Agusanons and Surigaonons