Explosive ordnance experts from the Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade successfully detonated a captured New People’s Army (NPA) landmine at its headquarters in Barangay New Visayas, Santo Tomas town, Davao del Norte.
Capt. Ernest Carolina, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, the unit supervising the 1003rd Infantry Brigade, said on Sunday the detonation took place during the celebration of the “International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action” last April 4.
Carolina said the activity was spearheaded by the 10th Infantry Division, the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), and the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD).
The objective of the activity was to dispose all improvised landmines in the custody of the 10th Infantry Division and to increase public awareness on landmines mines and their harmful effects.
During the program, PCBL was represented by their national coordinator Alfred Lubang, the FSD by project director Tony Fish, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines by the deputy commander of AFP Eastern Mindanao Command, Brig. Gen. Alexander Balutan, and 1003d Infantry Brigade head Col. Harold Cabreros.
In the last few weeks, there had been an upsurge in the use of improvised landmines by the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
Most notable of the recent incidents took place in Bansalan, Davao del Sur where civilian medical responders were hurt in the blast targeted to a Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) ambulance by the rebels.
The incident was followed by a public clamor led by the provincial government for the NPA rebels to end the use of the potentially indiscriminate weapons.
Part 4, Article 4, Section 4 of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed by the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philipines on March 16, 1998 stipulates that civilians should at all times be free from the danger of being subjected to landmines.
Per the record of the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command, there had been one civilian out of every five soldier casualties caused by NPA landmines in the region. (PNA)