Residents of Barangay Kasapa II, La Paz, Agusan del Sur felt fear and desperation during the early hours of April 6 as bombs were dropped near their communities.
They felt helpless and feared they will be hit. “Naghulat lang gyud mi nga mahulogan mi og bomba!” (We were just waiting for a bomb to fall on us!), one resident said.
Two FA-50 fighter jets dropped three bombs each and subsequently strafed forested areas in adjacent communities of the said barangay using .50 caliber machine gun between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines, alongside the bomber planes, deployed a Cessna intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft which was later joined by two other unmanned aerial vehicles.
“No Red fighter or unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) was in the area,” according to Ka Aris Francisco, spokesperson of the ComVal-North Davao-South Agusan Subregional Command under the the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Operational Command.
“The brutal attack was directly aimed at terrorizing poor Lumad and peasants, including elderly, pregnant women and children,” Fracisco added.
A few hours later, another AFP plane continued dropping bombs and strafing the area until midday. Everytime that a bomb exploded, community residents scrambled for safety, resulting in some people sustaining bruises and minor injuries. No one, however, was reported seriously hurt.
Prior to the bombing incident, combined forces of the 60th and 26th IB conducted combat operations from February 28 in the same area. About 600 regular combat personnel were deployed in the tri-boundary areas of La Paz, Loreto, and San Luis towns of Agusan del Sur and Kapalong in Davao del Norte.
According to Ka Aris, the fascist goons harass local residents, forcing them to “surrender” and coercing them to join the Bagani or CAFGU. The have garissoned the community, controlling their farming and livelihood activities.