Condemn the AFP for the November 23 aerial bombardnent and massacre of NPA fighters in Northern Samar

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas vehemently condemns the early morning aerial bombardment and massacre by the Joint Task Force Storm of the 8th Infantry Division against a unit of the New People’s Army in Northern Samar last November 23.

At past 1AM, air assets of the AFP dropped at least nine bombs upon a platoon of Red fighters temporarily encamped in a forested area of Barangay Imelda, Las Navas. They also fired at least four rounds of rockets and strafed the camp using high-caliber machine guns. Several rounds of 105mm howitzer were also indiscriminately fired towards the surrounding area.

Six members of the NPA were martyred, among them Helenita “Ka Celine/Ka Elay” Pardalis, 65, member of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee. It was not an encounter but an overkill attack against sleeping Red fighters armed only with some automatic rifles. There was clear intent to finish off the entire NPA unit and to take no prisoners. Pictures of the victims’ bodies discreetly taken by sympathetic individuals and sent to the NDF-EV showed mortal injuries to the head, limbs and internal organs. The “smart bombs” bored holes measuring three meters wide and two meters deep into the ground. These, along with the AFP’s advanced drones and attack planes, could not have discriminated among the Red fighters whom they can capture alive and give medical attention as stipulated by the CARHRIHL and international humanitarian law. In the NPA tactical offensive in Dorillo, Jipapad last October, Red fighters gave first aid to the wounded AFP-PNP troops. Meanwhile, the 8th ID mercilessly bombed and massacred the sleeping Red fighters in Imelda.

By daybreak, air assets of the AFP continued to hover the camp and the surrounding areas. Black Hawk helicopters also indiscriminately strafed at some farmlands. Soldiers immediately occupied Barangay Imelda as hundreds of other troops scoured surrounding farmlands. For several nights, drones continued to fly over Las Navas, disturbing and causing paranoia among residents of dozens of barangays who were also awoken and traumatized by the November 23 bombing spree. For several weeks, the peasant masses could not work on their farms; not even the token relief goods distributed by the military in Imelda days after the bombing could not take away their trauma and fear of reprisal by troops conducting military operations.

The 8th ID is lying by saying that a local resident tipped the military regarding the location of the NPA camp, to maliciously imply that the NPA unit was betrayed by the masses. In fact, sympathetic individuals took the initiative to secretly take photographic evidence of the victims’ bodies and forwarded these to the responsible NPA unit. Just as disgusted and indignant of the brutality displayed by the AFP, they reported how the victims’ bodies were simply thrown out of the helicopter and made to fall several feet to the ground. Best of all, it was the local masses who voluntarily assisted the retreating Red fighters immediately after the bombing, risking their own lives and doing everything within their means to bring them to safer ground.

It is also not true that the NPA camp was laden with command-detonated explosives (CDX). Even more absurd and twisted is the 8th ID’s lie that the victims died largely due to the explosion of their own CDX and not by the military’s “smart bombs.” Yet again, the 8th ID is spewing nonsense filth to obscure their addiction to bombings and bloodshed, the hawkishness of their all-out war, their contempt of human rights and disrespect for the laws of war. The Imelda attack is just their latest terrorist aerial bombing in the region (the fourth in Northern Samar) since 2019. Four were conducted in 2022 alone.

We call on the peace-loving people of Eastern Visayas to strongly condemn the JTF Storm, the 8th ID and the AFP. Their terrorist attacks, military occupation of communities, massive campaign of forced surrenders and wanton disregard of human rights do not bring peace nor development to the people but spread fear and terror among them.

We give the highest salute to the six fallen martyrs of Imelda. We express our deep condolences to their bereaved families, friends and comrades. We are calling on all units of the NPA and revolutionary forces in Samar, Leyte and Biliran to hold eulogies, remember and give tribute to these cherished sons and daughters of the people. All units of the NPA are expected to launch tactical offensives, punish the most hated and notorious enemy troops, defend the people and wage intensive and extensive guerrilla warfare to carry forward the people’s war.

The 8th ID is mistaken to think that the revolutionary movement in the region can be simply finished by waging fascist state terrorism and taking away from us our beloved comrades. More than ever, revolutionary forces in Eastern Visayas have a renewed resolve to take up the unfinished struggle no matter how long or arduous, and see it to its victorious end.

Condemn the terrorist aerial bombing in Imelda! Condemn the fascist state terrorism and all-out war of the US-Marcos regime!

Long live the six martyrs of Imelda!
Justice for all the victims of fascist state terrorism!
Long live the New People’s Army!
Long live the people’s democratic revolution!
Carry forward the people’s war and attain socialism for the Filipino people!

Condemn the AFP for the November 23 aerial bombardnent and massacre of NPA fighters in Northern Samar