AFP’s fiction of armed encounter cannot belie cold-blooded summary execution of civilian activists in New Bataan

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The Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao strongly condemns the barefaced lie of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that the three activists and two of their companions were killed in an armed encounter in New Bataan, Davao de Oro on February 24. In truth, the unarmed civilians were abducted and later summarily killed by the fascist thugs.

No engagement occurred between an NPA unit and AFP troops in Purok 8, Brgy. Andap or anywhere in New Bataan that day.Reports from the local NPA unit and the masses confirm that civilian victims Chad Booc, Gelejurain Ngujo II, female health worker Elgyn Balonga, and two other companions were flagged down and accosted in a military checkpoint in Brgy. Poblacion, New Bataan in the evening of February 23. Further reports suggest that the victims bore torture marks.

The war crime is in fact a spineless retaliation: on February 9, Red fighters under the ComVal-Davao Gulf Subregional Command ambushed AFP troops in Brgy. Tandawan, New Bataan, incurring several enemy casualties. Failing to inflict retaliatory damage against the NPA, the enemy trained their guns on unarmed civilians, and subsequently spun lies to smokescreen its atrocity.

Sticking true to cowardice, the AFP even manipulated surrendered NPA members and coerced civilian activists to bolster the sham circumstances of the summary killing and project a veneer of legitimacy in its fascist narrative.

The abduction and summary execution of unarmed civilians attest to the evil lengths that the AFP under the Duterte regime’s JCP Kapanatagan will go to in order to terrorize the people who fight for their democratic rights and interests and curtail their legitimate resistance against tyranny. Much as the AFP’s spin doctors try to sweep the crime under the rug, it is a reminder of their capacity for fascist brutality, a veiled threat to the masses who believe not a word of the AFP’s denial.Much as the AFP’s spin doctors try to sweep the crime under the rug, it is a reminder of their capacity for fascist brutality, a veiled threat to the masses who believe not a word of the AFP’s denial. As in cases of indiscriminate aerial bombardment and artillery shelling, the incident is a sheer display of gratuitous and disproportionate violence that the AFP continues to employ in its war against the people.

The summary execution is a deadly conclusion to years of AFP vilification campaign through redtagging and legal attacks against activists proscribed as terrorists by the Duterte regime’s NTF-ELCAC. It is a direct result of how heinous violations to rules of engagement protecting unarmed civilians and international humanitarian laws committed by the AFP, PNP and their paramilitaries can hide behind draconian reactionary laws such as Duterte’s Anti-Terror Law. The incident is evidence of the monstrous degree of impunity exercised and enjoyed by a fascist armed organization that, by its very nature, is inured to inhumane violence even against civilians, non- combatants or hors de combat.

In misrepresenting the five civilians as Red fighters who were killed in an armed engagement with the enemy, the AFP is desperately trying to spin the incident as yet another score in its counterinsurgency war. Despite billions of taxpayers’ money, so- called advanced war materiel, focused troop deployment and relentless combat operations, the AFP, however, remains a sadistic gang of mercenaries that resorts to egregious war crimes in order to defeat the revolutionary armed struggle of the people. And yet, the AFP has never maintained an upper hand, much less claimed complete victory, against the NPA in Southern Mindanao.

The fact remains that the AFP, whose troops continue to commit craven acts of blunt terror such as the summary execution of the New Bataan 5, is deeply isolated from and hated by the masses. The people hold the AFP and its commander in chief Rodrigo Duterte wholly responsible for the recent summary executions and other innumerable crimes. The NPA in Southern Mindanao shall ensure that revolutionary justice in the conduct of the people’s war is thoroughly meted out.

AFP's fiction of armed encounter cannot belie cold-blooded summary execution of civilian activists in New Bataan
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