2 civilans survived 4IB strafing, NPA-Mindoro slams AFP for spate of rights abuses

New People’s Army (NPA) in Mindoro Island condemned the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Battalion (4IB) of the 203rd Infantry Brigade that strafed a residence in Sitio Ar-ar, Manoot village, Rizal Town in Occidental Mindoro where two civilians sustained multiple gunshot wounds, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m.

The incident was reportedly due to a failed attack aimed at curbing suspected Red fighters inside the civilian residence believed to be owned by Mariela Torres after authorities received an information of NPA presence in the said residence. About 30 elements of 4IB lunged at Torres residence and indiscriminately fired the house.

After the strafing, Mariela, who was pregnant at the time of the incident sustained gunshot wounds in her shoulders and legs, and her sister, Rica sustained another in her foot. Local police brought the two wounded civilians to the nearby district hospital.

Madaay Gasic, spokesperson of the NPA’s Lucio de Guzman Command (LDGC) in Mindoro slammed the AFP for terrorizing the civilian population in their focused military operations (FMO) sanctioned by the Duterte government’s anti-insurgency program, Joint Campaign Plan Kapanatagan of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“The people can expect another spate of human rights abuses after the AFP started anew with their focused military operations this last quarter of 2019,” said Gasic.

“The AFP was convinced that their FMO for the third quarter of 2019 triumphed after inflicting irreversible affliction among the civilian population.”

“On the other hand, AFP’s FMO failed to curb any single NPA unit in Mindoro. Therefore, what the AFP is triumphant about is the spate of human rights abuses.”

“Their mastery in suppressing the people’s resistance against foreign and local exploitation is the reason why the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command awarded the 4IB and the 203rd Brigade as best battalion and best brigade respectively,” Gasic furthered.

Gasic noted that AFP conducts FMO in areas where people are active in protesting development aggression, such as mining and energy destructive operations. Three-month long FMO in June to August this year were conducted in the villages of Monteclaro and Batasan in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and Lisap in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro. He cited that these are mining areas of the multi-billion Pitkin Petroleum Ltd. that plans to extract natural gas and other mineral resources.

Gasic explained that it is the civilian population that are most affected due to these FMO.

“The AFP is spreading terrorism, victimizing the civilian population in areas covered by their FMO in an attempt to suppress the protesting masses campaigning to protect the environment against development aggression,” he said. “Strafing, looting, torture, aerial bombing, arson, tactical interrogation, illegal search, arrest and detention, fake surrender and extra-judicial killings are most common scenarios.”

To date, almost two company-size forces of the AFP and PNP are now deployed in Manoot village and conducting combat operations.

2 civilans survived 4IB strafing, NPA-Mindoro slams AFP for spate of rights abuses