Condemn AFP terrorist aerial bombing in Miag-ao!

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist aerial bombing of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Miag-ao, Iloilo last December 1.

Based on reports of the New People’s Army (NPA)-Panay, the AFP dropped at least four 500-lb bombs using attack aircrafts at around 5 a.m. on a mountainous area just above one kilometer away from the center of Barangay Alimodias in the said town. It ravaged an area 100 meters across with craters up to 15 feet deep. This was followed a few hours later by relentless artillery shelling from AFP howitzers.

At least nine people perished in the horrendous carnage. Witnesses said the cadavers were grossly mutilated that they are beyond recognition. Local NPA forces have yet to complete the process of identification of those killed and are still confirming reports that civilians were among those killed.

The AFP’s claims that they bombed a 70-strong NPA force is absolutely false. Only a small mass work unit of the NPA was in the area. Red fighters of the NPA were deployed in the area to assist the masses in production and help uplift them from hunger and poverty after typhoons and heavy rains damaged their rice fields and vegetable plots.

There is also no truth to the claim that there was an armed encounter between the AFP and the NPA. Neither is there truth to the AFP’s claim that the area was planted with landmines. These claims were used to falsely justify the superfluous bombing.

The Party condemns the terrorist bombing of the AFP in Miag-ao for endangering civilian lives and striking fear among the people. The aerial bombardment was carried out very near civilian communities that residents felt the tremors caused by the massive explosions. The AFP’s fired their howitzers just outside Barangay Pudpud causing terror among the people.

The December 1 aerial bombardment brazenly violated international humanitarian law, as well as the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), specifically the basic principle of distinction between combatants and civilians and the protection of civilian lives.

The use of 500-lb bombs is inherently indiscriminate, puts the lives and welfare of civilians at risk and causes widespread damage to the environment. The vicious effect of the AFP’s aerial bombardment goes way beyond ground zero. In Miag-ao, the AFP’s bombs shattered the peace, caused widespread fear, panic and trauma to residents of nearby communities, and scorched the mountains of Alimodias which also serve as source of food and livelihood. Civilian communities were, furthermore, placed under military control, where people are subjected to intimidation and threats and restrictions, causing them further sufferings.

We maintain that the use of 500-lb bombs also constitutes outright violation of the principles of proportionality and honor under international humanitarian law and rules of war. The use of these weapons to kill goes against the rules of war and constitutes nothing but plain and cowardly murder.

The Miag-ao bombing constitutes a war crime, as so are the recent cases of aerial bombing in Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte, Northern Samar, Cagayan Valley, Mindoro, Quezon and other provinces. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who himself ordered these bombings, together with his generals, must be held accountable and be charged with war crimes for the deliberate endangerment of civilians before the people’s courts and other international courts.

We urge the media and democratic and progressive organizations and the international community to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation into the Miag-ao bombing. The AFP has imposed a news blackout to control the flow of information in an effort to hide the real facts surrounding the bombing and the situation in Miag-ao.

We challenge political parties and candidates vying for the presidency and other positions in next year’s elections to make a clear stand against the use of aerial bombardment.

The AFP’s use of 500-lb bombs grossly violates international humanitarian law and must be banned. This is an obscene waste of people’s money amid widespread hunger and poverty.

Condemn AFP terrorist aerial bombing in Miag-ao!