Military hits NPA's use of landmines
- Jennifer P. Rendon (The Philippine Star) - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The New People’s Army (NPA) has publicly admitted that it uses claymore, one of the most common anti-personnel mine, also known as landmine.

In a press statement, Jurie Guerrero, spokesman of the NPA’s Jose Percival Estocada, Jr. Command operating in Central Panay, said the rebels fired at a Peace and Development Team (PDT) detachment of the 61st Infantry Battalion at Brgy Acuña, Tapaz, Capiz last May 14.

Guerrero, stating in the local dialect, said that “unknown to the knowledge of the troops, the Red fighters planted three claymores at the detachment,” which allegedly inflicted harm at the troops.

Amid this brazen admittance, Maj. Enrico Gil Ileto, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said it confirmed anew the NPA’s continuing use of improvised explosive device as landmines, in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement to Respect Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which the CPP-NPA-NDF was a signatory.

A staple of military operations, claymore mines could be directional or anti-directional anti-personnel mine. “We would never know who will get hit once this goes off,” Ileto said. In many cases, attacks using IEDS did not only kill or injure soldiers but also civilians. Other reports further stated that the NPA even employed a child combatant to use such mines, he said.

An earlier study noted that the NPA has been using command-detonated IEDs in 2010 and 2011. In many instances, the government charged the NPA of violating CARHRIHL by using command-detonated mines. “Pag sumabog ang claymore, we could not say na dapat niya lang tamaan ang mga sundalo. To whom it may concern ‘yan,” Ileto said.

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, signed CARHRIHL with the Philippine government in 1998. The agreement commited both parties to protect the civilian population by not using landmines, which was however not explicitly defined.

The NPA claimed that it manufactures and uses only command-detonated weapons allowed under the Mine Ban Treaty and, in its view, the CARHRIHL.

The NPA press release further stated that the death of PFC Maximo Macolbacol, a member of 61st Infantry (Hunter) Battalion, during an encounter two weeks ago, was justice served to the family of 7-year-old Rodelyn Aguirre.

Aguirre died after she was hit allegedly by the 61st IB’s grenade launcher, according to the rebels. But the military insisted that it was the NPA that kept its IEDs at Aguirre’s house and this accidentally went off. A month later, government troops overran an NPA camp where they recovered a claymore mine-type of IED, similar to the one that went off at Aguirre’s house.

Ileto however said the military will never falter in its call for peace with insurgent groups. “Your soldiers will continue to bring ‘winning of peace’ to the communities,” he told The Freeman. (FREEMAN)


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