Condemn AFP plan to bomb Negros natural reservation
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the plans of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), particularly the 303rd Infantry Brigade, to carry out a massive aerial bombardment over the hinterland communities of Barangay Minapasuk, Calatrava, Negros Occidental.
According to reports, the 79th IB, a unit under the 303rd IBde, has been securing “permits” to mount a 3-day bomb testing in Minapasuk’s Mandalagan Mountain Range, a part of the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP). The NNNP is considered a key biodiversity area and the largest protected area in Northern Negros, and is recognized by international conservation organizations.
Reports from local residents say people of several sitios are being forced to evacuate their homes. The military wants the area to be cleared and declared a “no man’s land”.
In a media interview, 303rd IBde’s Brigadier General Innocencio Pasaporte confirmed the plan to mount aerial strikes in the said area. He said with complete disregard to its possible effects to civilians and the environment, that “a military commander will use whatever resources are available to accomplish the mission.”
In conjunction with its planned aerial strikes, the AFP has subjected at least 21 sitios of two barangays in Calatrava town to relentless harrassment, threats and intimidation. Last July 6, forces of the 79th IB fired indiscriminately in the vicinity of communities in Barangay Marcelo which caused severe injuries to a child and several other people.
Gen. Pasaporte is making himself look stupid when he declares that the planned aerial strikes aim to target NPA units. If it were true that there are NPA units in the area, they would have already maneuvered to secure their safety, with public pronouncements of the planned aerial bombing.
In fact, the real aim of the AFP in conducting these aerial strikes is to terrorize the people of Calatrava to force them to “surrender” their defense of their land, destroy their farmlands and forest resources. The bombing will surely wreak havoc on the wildlife and resources of the Mandalagan Mountain Range.
We call on the Filipino people, the people of Negros, peasant advocate groups, defenders of human rights and environmentalists, to stand together and collectively fight and frustrate the AFP’s plans to drop bombs against the protected range and once and for all demand an end to the AFP’s brutal campaign of aerial bombardment.