Youth and rights groups condemn AFP for Abra, Ilocos Sur aerial bombing

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Youth groups and human rights defenders in the Ilocos region condemned the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for dropping bombs in the border communities of Maria, Ilocos Sur and Pilar, Abra on April 2 at noon. They demand the AFP to cease the bombing which disrupts the residents’ livelihood in the area and endangers the lives of civilians.

The bombing is against international humanitarian law and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, particularly as it does not discriminate between combatants and civilians and violates the basic principle of protecting the lives of civilians.

The use of powerful bombs is “inherently indiscriminate”, endangers the lives and livelihoods of civilians and causes extensive destruction to the environment. In fact, the impact of the AFP aerial bombing extends beyond ground zero, contrary to 501st IBde claims that the bombing was only focused on one unit of the New People’s Army (NPA)-Abra.

The military’s claim that an encounter took place between its units and the NPA is still being ascertained. In the past, the military has repeatedly used fake encounters to justify sowing terror and unrest in mountain communities.

“The bombing only adds to the suffering of people amid worsening crisis which the state has ignored,” according to Anakbayan-Ilocos. Cordillera local agencies report that at least 118 families or approximately 650 people have evacuated due to the bombings and the cessation of their livelihoods.

Meanwhile, the use of heavy bombs in counter-guerrilla operations is a violation of internationally recognized laws and conduct of war that prohibit the use of weapons and methods that cause excessive injury and death to combatants. These acts of war can be considered criminal.

In excessive use of heavy bombs against unfortified guerrilla camps, the AFP follows a “no quarter” policy to causing the maximum number of kills. This policy has long been considered a violation of international humanitarian law.

AB: Youth and rights groups condemn AFP for Abra, Ilocos Sur aerial bombing