AFP's inherent weaknesses imperil the lives of its own troops, civilian medical personnel

Rubi del Mundo
NDFP-Southern Mindanao Region
March 13, 2014

The National Democratic Front Regional Council upholds the ongoing process of indemnification to Mr. Genaro Doronio Dumayas, Ms. Bonita dela Cruz, Mr. Arnel Comandante Veloroso and Mr. Alberto Simbajon Cabual who were injured during the New People's Army ambush in Brgy. Managa, Bansalan, Davao del Sur on March 2, 2014. This is to strengthen the self-acting apology and restitution declared by the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command, three days after the incident.

In contrast, officials of the AFP and the US-Aquino regime continued to exonerate themselves from the March 2 ambush even as they remained responsible for endangering the lives of the medical responders. And they continue to put the lives of medical personnel and even ordinary soldiers in peril with the AFP's inherent weaknesses, ineptitude and corruption. They continue to take exception to the revolutionary forces' use of command detonated explosives when their own flaws and mercenary policies have led to the loss of more civilian lives and property.

The AFP receives one of the highest, if not the biggest slice of people's money, but these precious funds are lost to AFP's greedy generals, while Army units suffer from insufficient logistics in the battlefield. The Bansalan incident greatly exposes this glaring irony.

Medical responders were sent by the enemy to the combat field eight hours after its first engagement with NPA units earlier at 11am of March 2 which left scores of soldiers dead and wounded.  The Army had to employ civilian medical responders like the PDRRMC and the Red Cross, lacking as they are of their own qualified combat life-savers, forward medical facilities and transportation.  The lack of or absence of medical evacuation unit in the Army's field units is certainly not the fault of its lowly soldiers but by the AFP's highest echelons who have clearly misappropriated people's funds to feed the affluent lifestyle of their own generals. Despite the supposed superiority of their weaponry, logistics and personnel, because of its corruption, the AFP exposes itself as an easy target to the people's army.

In the March 2 Bansalan incident, the medical personnel were also ordered by the AFP not to use sirens and blinkers on the ambulances, in a bid to conceal the identity of the medical personnel while in transit to a combat battle field. By violating standard operating procedures and by not ensuring that the medical units are recognizable, the AFP risked their lives, imperiled their safety and made them de facto targets of attacks. The AFP has made a gross negligence in preventing them and their transports from being identifiable and has failed to adopt methods and procedures to make it possible for them to be recognizable through their distinctive emblem and signals.

The People's Democratic Government regards in high esteem the medical responders, aid groups and institutions who risk their lives even as they serve notorious Army units like the 39th IB who are responsible for the grave human rights abuses in Davao del Sur, Davao City and North Cotabato. In the days following the March 2 incident, we have instituted measures to assist the four rescuers, overcoming security and logistical limitations. While acknowledging that casualties are a reality in the ongoing civil war in the country, we sincerely make amends with the knowledge that stricter observance of last minute intelligence work would have prevented the injury of non-legitimate targets such as medical responders.

In the exercise of its duly constituted political authority, the People's Democratic Government abides by its own justice system and recognizes the efforts made by the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command to impose appropriate sanctions against the responsible NPA operatives who have committed the prohibited act. As signatory to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the NDF assumes its separate duty and responsibility with regards to protecting the principles of IHL in accordance with its own principles, organization and circumstance (Part VI, Final Provision, Article 1 ). Hence, it is idiotic for the AFP and the GPH to demand the surrender of the responsible persons of the Bansalan incident when their laws and justice system are inapplicable to such persons.