The AFP continues to waste hundreds of millions of pesos of people’s money in relentless aerial and artillery operations in the hinterlands of the Bukidnon province. According to the New People’s Army (NPA) in Bukidnon, it recorded at least 84 incidents of aerial bombardment since 2018, and 395 shelling of mountainous villages of Bukidnon.
For two years, the AFP has been dropping one bomb almost every week and firing their cannons every other day, according to Ka Dereka Magtanggol, NPA-Bukidnon spokesperson.
In February 2020, the AFP dropped bombs in the upland villages of Cabanglasan, San Fernando, Valencia City and Impasug-ong. An estimated P24,116,000 was spent for ammunition. In another round of aerial bombardment in Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong last February 18, at least 25 peasant families were forced to leave their homes for fear of their safety.
The bombings and artillery shelling are often carried out indiscriminately by the AFP. These cause widespread trauma among civilians.
Bukidnon is one of the poorest provinces in the country, ranked 68th among the total 80. The country’s biggest pineapple and banana plantations are found in the province. It is one of the AFP’s “priority areas” in its counterinsurgency campaign. In early 2019, the AFP relentlessly mounted “seamless boundary operations” in the border areas between Bukidnon, Agusan, Davao and Misamis Oriental.
In defense of the people, the NPA carried out scores of military actions in 2019. According to Magtanggol, at least 152 AFP troops were killed, while 94 were wounded in action.
She further said that the NPA was able to carry out 72 military actions amid the AFP’s intensive operations in the province. These include raids on the enemy encampment, ambuscades and partisan operations, grenade attacks and sniping operations, and blasting the enemy with command-detonated explosives.
Also, punitive actions were imposed against mining companies and plantations that destroy the environment and grab the lands of the Lumad and peasants.