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Military denounces NPA use of landmines

by Saul Pa-a
November 9, 2019

Philippine Army's 2ID logo

CAMP GEN. CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — The Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division (2ID) on Tuesday denounced the New People’s Army (NPA) communist terrorist group’s use of anti-personnel mines in their insurgency armed movement.

This, after a landmine, exploded and killed a soldier while on his way to report to the temporary patrol base in Barangay Sta. Rosa in Lopez, Quezon on Sunday.

In a statement, Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the 2ID which covers Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) and Mimaro (Mindoro Oriental/Occidental, Marinduque and Romblon) provinces, condoled with the family of Army Private Kim A. Veluz, 23, from San Francisco, Quezon and a member of the 85th Infantry Battalion.

“No words will ever be enough to express our disgust over this barbaric and unacceptable act of using landmines which led to the death of an unarmed soldier that shattered not only the hearts of his parents but also the hopes and dreams of his siblings,” Burgos said, describing Veluz as a fallen hero.

The military command here condemned the terroristic act perpetrated by the NPA rebels, in violation of the “Mine Ban Treaty” which was signed and ratified in 1997 by 156 states, including the Philippines, in Ottawa, Canada.

Despite the ban, the landmine has been employed by the NPA terrorists as a regular weapon in waging internal conflict across the country, prompting the military command here to call out the rebel group’s violation of human rights, International Humanitarian Law and numerous international conventions.

Burgos also described the rebels’ barbaric act as a manifestation of the terroristic group’s growing desperation to project power amidst the sweeping demoralization across their ranks due to the success of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict 4A (RTF ELCAC 4A).

He said President Rodrigo Duterte’s initiative on the National Task Force (NTF)-ELCAC through his Executive Order 70 has operationalized the whole-of-nation approach to attain lasting peace for all Filipinos nation.


“The headways of RTF ELCAC 4A have pushed the enemies of the state in Calabarzon Region on the brink of irreversible collapse. We are confident that we will be able to defeat the insurgency in this part of the country before the President’s term ends,” he said.

Meanwhile, Col. Norwyn Romeo Tolentino, commander of the 201st Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the area, said Veluz was in civilian clothes when he would have reported to the patrol base.

“It was fortunate that the landmine did not explode just as when two civilians were walking ahead of the soldier at the area where the landmine was buried,” Tolentino said.

He pointed to members of the “Milisyang Bayan”, one of the NPA’s support system in the barangay, as perpetrators as some sort of their retaliatory attacks against the military’s relentless intelligence-driven combat operations and massive deployment of Community Support Program teams in the hinterlands.

“But it was unfortunate that a human being has to die in a manner that is internationally considered as inhumane yet continuously being utilized by a ragtag band of terrorists who are becoming desperate for our people’s attention and relevancy in the community,” he said.

“Pvt. Veluz’s sacrifice shall serve as an inspiration for all of us to be unrelenting in accomplishing our mission of liberating our people from the NPAs’ terroristic and extortionist actions,” he added.

Government security forces have considerably reduced the number of NPA fighters and their firearms, as the military intensifies its operations to end the insurgents’ extortion activities and rescue minors who are either turned into the rebels’ “child-warriors” or “support personnel”.

According to the records from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the number of NPAs in Calabarzon is now down to just 137 with 154 firearms.

Military assessment over the past few weeks also disclosed soldiers and police officers have identified a number of “child-warriors” recruited by the communist terrorists as part of their party and army building efforts to avert the fast-eroding mass base support in Southern Tagalog.

Authorities have since conducted debriefings for these young recruits, who revealed they were coerced into joining the terrorist rebels’ rank, through deception to go on a mountain trek as exposure or immersion activities, along with friends and classmates. (PNA)


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