CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – Five civilians were wounded after a landmine planted by the New People’s Army (NPA) exploded last night in Bansalan town, in Davao Del Sur.
At about 7:30 pm yesterday, March 2, 2014, a convoy of ambulances from Davao Del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) headed by Bonita Dela Cruz, Red Cross Davao del Sur Chapter headed by Winston Malinao and 39th Infantry Battalion (39IB) ambulance led by 1lt Allan Dale Ibones, while heading towards Sitio Balutakay, Brgy. Managa, Bansalan was hit by a landmine planted by NPA rebels belonging to its Guerilla Front 51, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) under an alias ‘Rangrang’ in Sitio Tower of said barangay.
The landmine explosion resulted to the wounding of five civilian volunteers of PDRRMC, namely; Henaro Dumayas, Alberto Cabual Jr, Arnel Valeroso, Ivan Malingo and Bonita Dela Cruz.
Dumayas, who sustained wounds at the left forearm, left thigh and inferior side of the head, and Cabual, who was wounded at his left arm, are in critical condition in Digos Doctors Hospital, while the other three suffered slight wounds. The Davao del Sur PDRRMC ambulance was heavily damaged from the landmine.
Initial reports stated that Menandro Villanueva, alias ‘Nelson’, Secretary of the SMRC personally ordered to Roberto Rosete, alias ‘Bobby’, Secretary of the Sub-Regional Committee 3 of the CPP-NPA, the landmining of the civilian ambulance.
The group was supposed to pick-up and evacuate the wounded personnel of 39IB who encountered undetermined numbers of NPA rebels in Brgy. Managa, Bansalan town earlier that day.
The said encounter was between the Scout Platoon of 39IB led by 2Lt Josepher Ansay and another platoon under 1Lt Ian Ngalew against members of the NPA’s GF51, SMRC. Firefight lasted for about an hour and in the course of maneuver, the platoon of 1Lt Ngalew was hit by a landmine. After which the NPA withdrew towards northwest direction. As a result, 11 soldiers including two officers were wounded. On the other hand, community members reported that the NPA brought with them four dead members and several wounded from the firefight. Elements of the 39IB immediately launched pursuit operations against the rebels to put them in the bar of justice.
“We will file a case against Villanueva and his cohorts in the local and national courts for frustrated murder and for violating the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) specifically Part IV, Article 4.4, which states that civilians shall be treated as such, shall be distinguished from combatants, shall not be the object of attack and they shall be protected against the use of explosives such as landmines. Villlanueva and his cronies will also face charges under the Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other crimes against humanity,” said Colonel Marcos Norman Flores Jr., Commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade.
The AFP condemns this desperate attack by the NPAs who continue to sow violence in rural areas in the country. The NPA’s use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as landmines endangers the lives, as well as sow terror, to civilians in the immediate area of attack.
It is clearly stated in the CARHRIHL to which the NPA is one of the signatories that the use of IEDs as landmines is prohibited to prevent damages to civilians.
The AFP vows to pursue the perpetrators in view of ending their violent activities and in bringing peace and development in our rural communities.