ASIDE from killing nine government security forces, the Maoist New People’s Army (NPA) also carted away more than P2 million in cash intended for the subsistence allowance of about 752 members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) in two recent separate ambush incidents in the province of North Cotabato.
Capt, William Aflred Rodriguez, chief of the 1002nd Brigade Public Affairs Office, on Monday said that in the first incident took place in Sitio Manggi, Barangay Bituan, Tulunan, North Cotabato, a declared peace zone.
According to Rodriguez, elements of the 38th Battalion were negotiating the said area on their way to the hinterland village of Bacong in Tulunan, Cotabato, to deliver the allowance of the Cafgus when rebel forces detonated a landmine that rendered the soldiers incapable to defend themselves.
But even as some of the hapless soldiers hit by shrapnel laid defenseless, he added, “the NPA even peppered our wounded troops with bullets even on their faces” that resulted in the death of five enlisted personnel and three members of the Cafgu Active Auxiliary.
It was followed by a similar incident a few hours later at Purok 2, Barangay Luna Norte in Makilala town, to the reinforcing troops of the 57th Infantry Battalion that left one soldier dead.
Rodrigues said the National Democratic Front (NDF) acknowledged in a press statement the atrocities committed by its armed wing.
“They even hid to the public the robbery they committed during their attack. They robbed the families of the Cafgus a total amount of P2,135,430, which was intended to provide the daily needs of about 753 Cafgus’ families,” he added.
Military records showed that from 2010 to date, the NPA has harmed a total of 471 civilians and military personnel through detonation of landmines in Eastern Mindanao alone.
Of the 471, 75 were civilian casualties, with 27 dead and 48 wounded, while the military suffered 396 casualties, with 109 killed and 287 wounded.
Rodriguez said the use of landmine or improvised explosive device is prohibited under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrihl) wherein the NDF was a signatory.
The Carhrihl protects civilians, noncombatants and hors de combat or those soldiers who are wounded and rendered incapable to fight.
“But the NPA has no regard to the signed agreement of the National Democratic Front and the Communist Party and even disregarded the plea of the wounded soldiers who couldn’t fight anymore,” Rodrigues pointed out.