Third part of the series on the inhumane and destructive use of drones and aerial bombing.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s aerial bombardment, together with the use of drones and aerial strafing by helicopters, is one of the most brutal tactic in the reactionary state’s war of suppression. This is nothing but fascist terrorist from the sky that brings violence, fear and destruction wherever it is used by the AFP.
The use of aerial terrorism has become worse after Rodrigo Duterte ordered the AFP to “flatten the hills” in 2017. He demonstrated to the entire country his boundless brutality by pounding Marawi City to the ground. Since then, hundreds of bombs, thousands of rockets and innumerable machine gun rounds and artillery shells have been used by the AFP in its war to suppress the people and their just armed resistance.
Intensified use of aerial terrorism was started in Mindanao regions in 2018, but was used across the country later on. Intensified aerial bombing continues in the Moro area, where US forces are permanently based. The AFP continues to acquire aerial vehicles, cannons, missiles and bombs with the insidious aim of placing the entire country in the grip of its terrorism.
Aerial bombing and strafing has become a permanent component in the AFP’s counterguerrilla arsenal that aims to strike fear among the masses and intimidate the Red fighters of the New People’s Army. In violation of the international humanitarian laws, these weapons are superfluous, indiscriminate endangers the lives of civilians and causes destruction of property and the environment.
Just last month, the AFP dropped 69 bombs and 18 rockets, shelled 15 times and repeatedly strafed the Lumad communities and farms in Talaingod, Davao del Norte and the surrounding Pantaron mountains within 35 days since September 15. This aim to make the Manobo people to bow and “surrender” to the AFP.
Lumad communities have long been been bombed by the AFP. In 2017, an AFP bomb dropped in the proximity of the Fr. Pops Tentorio Memorial School, a Lumad school in Magpet, North Cotabato. In December 31, 2018, the AFP dropped six bombs in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur, hit an area just 150 meters away from Sitio Panukmoan and Sitio Decoy. On March 24, 2020, artillery shells hit the ground 330 meters from the center of Barangay Mandahikan, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon. On January, aerial bombs hit pasture land, farms and hunting grounds of the minority people in Abra and Mt. Province. In Visayas, a rocket shrapnel pierced through the roof of a house in Dolores, Eastern Samar on August 16
Aerial bombing operations are often carried out in the early morning and lasts for a few hours. On April 19, 2020, the AFP dropped five bombs at around 5 a.m. near the homes of Sitio Kapanal, Barangay Gasi, Kiamba, Sarangani, while some Lumad peasants (from the T’boli tribe) were already in their farms. On April 26, 2018, the bombing in Mati, Davao Oriental started at 5 in the afternoon and lasted for two hours, and resumed at 9 p.m. lasting until midnight. On the same night, 38 bombs were dropped in the towns of Sinacaban and Jimenez in Misamis Occidental at nine in the evening and lasted until four the following morning. The artillery shelling in Barangay Osmeña, Palapag, Northern Samar, started at 11 p.m. and lasted until two the following morning.
Relentless aerial bombing and strafing bring about extreme trauma to the people in the countryside. Not less than 1,000 families evacuated their community in Barangay Monteclaro, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and Barangay Lisap, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro after their village was subjected to four days of bombing and strafing starting on Abril 29, 2019. Around 1,000 families evacuated their communities on February 11, 2017 after the AFP bombed barangays Macopa, Kibagyo and Bullucan in Laak, Compostela Valley (Davao de Oro). More than 190 families (including 660 children) evacuated Barangay Buhawen, San Marcelino, Zambales on August 21, 2020 after their community was bombed; and more than 200 families evacuated adjacent barangays after AFP aerial bombing and strafing in the mountainous portion of Barangay Lidong, Caramoan, Camarines Sur on August 13, 2020.
The AFP exploits the fear caused by the bombing and uses this to make residents kneel and follow the dictates of the AFP, including “surrendering” to the military. There is also the case of 2,000 families forced by the military to evacuate after the AFP dropped 15 bombs on their communities damaging their corn fields. In November 2, 2018, residents of Barangay Luayon, Makilala, North Cotabato were threatened with bombing, a day after they were forced to evacuate due to earthquakes.
Refer to the list of cases of brutal bombing: Mga brutal na kaso ng pambobomba ng AFP