The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today reported up to 249 victims of strafing, artillery shelling, forced evacuation, and surrender campaign in Samar island due to the intensified counter-insurgency operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the past week. The NDF-EV condemns the fascist troops of the 8th Infantry Division-Philippine Army and the US-Duterte regime for this surge of terrorist rampage in Northern Samar and Western Samar as part of its total war of repression against the people.
In a second case of indiscriminate firing in Palapag town, Northern Samar this year, CAFGU elements under the 20th Infantry Battalion killed peasant Alberto Durin and his wife Maritess in their home in Brgy. Natawo last July 26. The couple’s grandchild, a minor, was also wounded. Last June, 20th IB soldiers and police forces killed and wounded several members of the Meraya family in Brgy. Bagacay.
In Las Navas town, up to 192 individuals were forced to flee from barrios where 20th IB troops under 1Lt. Daniel Salvador Sumawang have been conducting Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) operations since March. According to the residents, soldiers in full combat gear and without personal protective equipment on harassed and threatened them to surrender as members of the New People’s Army. Barangay council members were also forced to participate in their combat operations or else they will be accused as members of the NPA.
In Western Samar, troops of the 8th ID have intensified their triad operations guised as RCSP operations in the towns most notably in San Jose de Buan town. At least 50 individuals were forced to evacuate after two artillery shelling operations near farming communities. Last July 14, the military fired at least 64 bullets of its mortar and 105mm howitzer at farmlands on Mt. Huraw near the town proper. On July 29, they again fired at least 24 bullets of their mortar towards a forested area near Sitio Salvacion, Brgy. San Nicolas. The 8th ID targeted these areas fully knowing these are frequented by local residents who farm, hunt and make rattan for a living. The local NPA unit has not reported any injuries due to the shelling.
Fascist troops under the 87th IB also illegally arrested, detained and interrogated peasant David Dacles, resident of Sitio Salvacion, Brgy. San Nicolas, San Jose de Buan last July 25. Fifty-four soldiers conducting combat operations met Dacles while he was on his way home from the town proper, and then brought him to their battalion headquarters for interrogation. They brought him to another military camp in Brgy. Cantato, Paranas for another round of interrogation. Until now he is yet to be released.
The AFP religiously abides by the total war doctrine of its terrorist commander-in-chief. Just like their protector Duterte, they see Red in anyone who does not accede to their campaign of suppression. Benefiting from the hawkish and completely misplaced priorities of the Duterte regime in the time of a pandemic, they brandish and use their heavy weaponry against both combatant and non-combatant to terrorize the masses, to silence them into submission and to extinguish the people’s desire to assert their democratic rights.
The NDF-EV calls on all democratic and peace-loving people to expressly condemn the AFP and the Duterte regime for its total war against the people. We call upon the broadest range of forces, especially human rights defenders, church people, peace advocates and members of the media to conduct fact-finding missions and condemn this spate of atrocities by the fascist AFP troops. The people of Samar are also called upon to exercise their democratic rights, to wage all forms of protest including street marches and demonstrations, and to call for the ouster of the morally-corrupt Duterte so his fascist rule can finally come to an end.