Struck by command-detonated explosives, AFP resorts to desperate measures

Rigoberto F. Sanchez
NPA-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
March 18, 2013

People's militia stealthily operated command-detonated explosives March 15 in Elizalde, Maco town, Compostela Valley killing four fascist troops belonging to the 71st Infantry Battalion, and wounding several others. Today (March 18), Red fighters belonging to the Guerilla Front 27 Operations Command ambushed troops from the 66th Infantry Battallion 9:30am in Brgy. Cabidianan, Nabunturan town.

These were the seventh and eighth tactical offensive by the New People's Army using command detonated explosives this year that is directed against the Army's 60th IB, 66th IB, 57th IB, Division Reconnaissance Company, 28th IB and 71st IB -- all butchers and private armies of environmentally destructive large-scale mining and logging companies in the region. The NPA deploys explosives for its annihilative and attritive actions to inflict damage to the enemy and sink its morale.

The Guerilla Front 27 Red fighters earlier today at 6:00 am also arrested two police officers at a checkpoint in Brgy. Mainit, Nabunturan. The NPA checkpoint was part of its regular operations against undesirable elements in the area and the abusive Special Operations Teams under Oplan Bayanihan.

Arrested and presently held as prisoner of war is Police Officer 3 Ruben Magno Nojapa, Jr., 50, who is assigned at the Nabunturan Police station. Briefly held but was able to escape from NPA clutches was PNP SPO2 Randy Masambo. Red fighters confiscated Masambo’s service firearm, a 9mm handgun.

On March 15, a team from the 1st Pulang Bagani Company-NPA also shot and wounded the commanding officer of the AFP's Special Operations Team in Paquibato district.

Indeed, the 10th Infantry Division-AFP is staggering from the series of command-detonated explosions and special operations of the New People's Army. The morale of AFP troops is sinking, so much so that it has turned its fangs against the civilians. At the same time, its propaganda machinery demonstrates hypocrisy at every turn by calling the explosives illegitimate weapon of use in warfare.

The AFP's desperate measures are pathetic, cowardly and duplicitous. Blind and oblivious to the blows of the people's army who are ready anywhere, anytime in the revolutionary territories of the People's Democratic Government, the 10th ID has resorted to unleashing its wrath towards the peasant masses. Thirty minutes after the NPA exploded the command-detonated mines earlier today, two military mg520 choppers dropped off bombs in Brgy. Cabidianan.

In Baguio district, the 84th IB has ordered the evacuation of Lumads following the NPA's ambush against the Army-PNP composite forces March 8 yielding 11 casualties in the battlefield. It has resurrected the Blackfighters and ordered the wily, opportunist Lumad leader Joel Unad and one pastor Cesar Malinaw to sow terror in the district. Using as pretext the NPA's killing of military spy Paulino "Jun" Landim March 2, the 84th IB and Lumad opportunists commanded civilians from the villages of Laputan, Kisagaay, Likuyan, and Kahayagan to evacuate starting on March 16.  The fascist Army trains its guns against hungry and impoverished peasants and Lumads in brgy. Tambobong and Brgy. Carmen who were already victimized by landslides and recent calamities and neglected by inept social welfare authorities.

Extra-judicial killing of civilian activists like Cristina Jose in Baganga, Davao Oriental is also the handiwork of the 10th ID-- a tactic meant to diffuse the impact of Typhoon Pablo and mounting people's struggle against the corrupt and insensitive US-Aquino regime. As human rights abuses fall flat in the face of the deceitful AFP, it hypocritically accuses the NPA of using banned weapons like the command-detonated explosives. The accusation is not only unfounded but also hollow in the face of the AFP's prohibited use of civilian structures like daycares, barangay halls, and schools as headquarters for its Special Operations Teams and combat troops.

The NPA reiterates that the use of command detonated explosives are clearly within the bounds of international humanitarian law. Unlike "pressure-detonated" or "victim-detonated" mines, the command-detonated explosives used by the NPA against the AFP/PNP/paramilitary forces only explode when switched by the detonating officer of an NPA unit or a people's militia upon the order of the NPA's commanding officer.

Again, the AFP demonstrates its hypocrisy when its very own SOT operations--its so-called peace and development team operations-- do not discriminate civilians from armed targets, and when its use of bomb-carrying helicopters and  MG15 choppers do not recognize civilians and considers civilian villages as enemy lairs and counter-revolutionary targets.

As environmental destruction and loss of people's livelihood intensifies with the continued large-scale mining, logging and plantation businesses in the region, more and more AFP troops and paramilitary forces that serve as its security guards become easy targets and sources of arms of the NPA and the people's militia. The people's army will continue to deliver lethal blows to the enemy, unstoppable in the face of the massive concentration of AFP troops in the region and increasing number of weak points in the enemy.