NDF-EV welcomes independent CHR probe into overkill Dolores bombing

Read in: Waray

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas welcomes the decision of the Commission on Human Rights-Region 8 to pursue investigation into the overkill bombing of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against a unit of the New People’s Army in Dolores, Eastern Samar.

We call on the CHR to conduct an independent investigation that will look into serious violations of international humanitarian law, particularly those pertaining to the rule of necessity and proportionality of attacks against opponent forces, committed by officials of the AFP and the 8th Infantry Division against a mere 50 Red fighters last August 16.

Additional reports we received from the People’s Democratic Government illustrate the brute force with which the AFP and the 8th ID attacked the NPA platoon:
1. At 4:00 AM, two reconnaissance planes flew over the NPA unit which were followed by two FA-50 fighter jets that all at once dropped at least six bombs. These were followed by more attack planes that dropped two more bombs and continued the aerial strafing.

2. By 8:00AM, two attack helicopters also fired machine guns and what sounded like rocket missiles to strafe the area until afternoon. Surveillance drones also flew around the perimeter of the bombing site after each bomb was dropped.

3. By afternoon, the strafing and bombing slightly waned but a reconnaissance plane and helicopters continued to hover the area. The AFP unsatisfied with their onslaught, cannons were then fired several times towards the NPA unit.

4. A press release by the AFP and the 8th Infantry Division claimed that they used not only air and ground assets (including troops of the 52nd IB and the 78th IB), but also sea assets against a platoon of Red fighters who were at most armed with some automatic rifles and improvised command-detonated explosives.

5. Among the victims of the attack were medical staff who were supposed to conduct surgery for a Red fighter suffering from hernia. They were also supposed to carry out other medical procedures for other Red fighters and the masses in the area.

By our initial estimates, the AFP and the 8th ID used a total of two fighter jets and two attack helicopters which fired at least eight “smart bombs,” machine guns, and rocket missiles, seven surveillance drones, cannons, ground troops from two battalions, and an undisclosed number of sea assets, for its 13-hour attack against said NPA unit.

We submit that the AFP and the 8th ID violated the protocols of war by using an exceedingly disproportionate amount of force against the NPA unit who were in no position to fight, armed with far inferior weapons and were composed of Red fighters still recovering from illness.

The attacks were purposely indiscriminate, directed towards a wide perimeter and were without mercy. Their objective was to completely eliminate the entire unit and to take no prisoners. Their savage attacks resulted to the death of 19 and injuries of several others.

We urge the CHR to immediately carry out the independent investigation. Other independent human rights bodies are also free to carry out fact-finding missions on the effect of the bombing and other human rights violations committed by state forces in the surrounding communities. They are all guaranteed safe passage into territories of the People’s Democratic Government; they do not need the military or police to serve as security escort.

We call on the AFP and the Philippine National Police to pull out from the peasant communities and let the human rights advocates perform their duties without delay or harm. Their mere presence already intimidates the residents and may affect the outcome of the investigation.

The NDF-EV intently awaits the result of the investigation so that the victims and their families may attain justice for the grave wrong committed against them.#

NDF-EV welcomes independent CHR probe into overkill Dolores bombing