Two helicopter gunships continuously dropped undetermined number of rocket bombs and indiscriminately strafed the vicinities of the northern villages of Sagada, Dalican, and Mainit of Bontoc.
By MAGNO UDYAW
Spokesperson, Leonardo Pacsi Command
NPA Mountain Province Provincial Operations Command
3 September 2013
In a desperate effort to cover-up the blatant failure of Oplan Bayanihan and stamp out the rising tide of the advancing people’s war to a higher level, combined contingents of the Philippine National Police Public Safety Battalion forces of Mountain Province, Benguet and Abra joined forces with combat troops of the Task Force Tadian under the 5th Infantry Division in launching massive military and bombing operations in the vicinity of the northern villages of Sagada and upland Bontoc, both in Mountain Province, on 29 and 30 August.
The Leonardo Pacsi Command of the NPA-Mountain Province commends its Red fighters for bravely engaging the enemy and successfully inflicting casualties. At the same time, we condemn the military and police elements in their indiscriminate aerial bombings and strafing, causing damages to civilian properties and animals, and trauma on the populace particularly the children.
Outmaneuvered on the ground, two helicopter gunships continuously dropped undetermined number of rocket bombs and indiscriminately strafed the vicinities of the northern villages of Sagada, Dalican, and Mainit of Bontoc for two days.
No different from the bombings in Malibcong, Abra province last May, most affected were the children in the vicinity who suffered psychological effects. A lot of them were traumatized.
Moreover, farmers were prevented from attending to their crops, animals, and water systems.The damage done along the Mabileng communal irrigation system due to the recent typhoons and monsoon rains needing immediate repair works was exacerbated, as some portions were hit directly by the said indiscriminate bombings and aerial strafing. Even smaller irrigation systems servicing the rice paddies at Ambuchaaw and Demang, Aguid, Sagada; Pakanan, Mainit; Matbo and Mapagpag, Dalican, Bontoc were hit.
Spring sources along Demang mountain sides tapped for domestic water needs of the northern villages of Sagada were not spared. Civilians undertaking repair works along the Mabileng communal irrigation system were strafed at.
Several animals grazing on the Demang mountain slopes were reportedly missing.
Similarly, hunters were denied the right to visit their wild boar traps.
Clearly, the massive military operations, indiscriminate bombings, and aerial strafing demonstrate the US-Aquino Regime’s threadbare treatment of the national minorities and their collective right on ancestral land. Malacañang has unleashed the sword of war on the Cordillera people using both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP to militarize the area and perpetuate national oppression of the indigenous people.
It is at the height of insanity that while the village folk were preoccupied with rehabilitating their farm lots, communal irrigation systems, and water work systems damaged by the recent typhoons and monsoon rains, the PNP-trained counter-insurgency units and combat troops of the 5th Infantry Division launched joint combat operations.
However, it failed in its operation against the alert Red fighters who had been temporarily encamped while several units were dispersed in nearby villages assisting farmers in their relief and rehabilitation work.
It is worthwhile to note that while villagers are victims of these bombings, not a single statement can be heard from Gov. Leonard Mayaen, indicating that he is in cohort with the military. It is during these denunciatory times when kailyans (townmantes) are supposed to be supported by their elected officials.Where is the braggadocio exhibited by Mayaen in condemning the NPA on the successful tactical offensive against the RPSB counter-insurgency training last June? Why is there no ‘indignation rally’ this time against such indiscriminate and unjustified attacks on the civilian populace?
We call on pro-people and independent bodies like the church to conduct a fact finding mission in the areas mentioned to determine the psychological effects of the bombings on the village folk especially on the children, the damages done on crops, infrastructure, and properties.
We call on the newly elected local government officials to stand on the side of their constituents in condemning this brazen military operation, in demanding justice for individual victims and communities, and reparation to damages.
We hold accountable all AFP and PNP officials for the violations of the provisions of Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in the indiscriminate and irresponsible bombing and strafing of civilians, crops and properties.
We call on all Red fighters and people’s militia to launch tactical offensives against the fascist troops of the reactionary government. Further inflict heavy blows on the enemy as we defend our ancestral lands, rights and resources.
We call on all the people and revolutionary forces to end this rotten system that is perpetuating national oppression on indigenous people and wanton plunder on our rich natural resources for their insatiable capitalist greed.