The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today strongly condemned the 8th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the indiscriminate artillery shelling operations by its troops which hit a farmer’s house and killed two dogs in Matuguinao, Western Samar.
The NDF-EV said it received reports from the New People’s Army-Arnulfo Ortiz Command (AOC) that the 155mm howitzer fired by the 19th Infantry Battalion on September 26 in Brgy. San Isidro hit the house of a certain “Aido” and two pet dogs, completely avoiding the NPA-AOC that successful ambushed AFP troops in nearby Brgy. Santa Cruz a couple of hours earlier.
NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas said the military conducted the shelling which put at risk mass civilian casualty as it hit an area between a school building and a waiting shed. He also noted that in Northern Samar, the 20th IB also conducted consecutive shelling operations towards farmlands in Palapag and Mapanas towns last September which were supposedly in retaliation for the successful guerrilla operations of the NPA. Dozens of peasant families busy with their annual harvest have been driven to evacuate as bombs dropped on their farmland. The heavy shelling prompted them to compare their experience with the AFP’s bombing campaign in Marawi City in 2017.
“We condemn the indiscriminate artillery shelling by the 8th ID which has hit farmlands and civilian structures and harmed animals. The 8th ID stays true to the AFP’s total war policy against the NPA by way of wholesale bombings, shelling and terrorizing the peasant masses. This is the Duterte regime’s drugged-out crackdown against everyone whom they accuse of supporting the NPA or anyone opposed to his fascist dictatorship,” Fr. Salas said.
“Since July, the 8th ID in Samar island has fired at least 113 artillery rounds but has yet to hit a single Red fighter. The AFP and its commander-in-chief Rodrigo Duterte are morally-bankrupt and bloodthirsty warmongers who sweep aside human rights, international humanitarian law and basic decency to waste away millions of the people’s money through futile operations.”
Fr. Salas enjoined the people of Samar and all advocates of human rights, members of the clergy, human rights organizations, and other peace-loving individuals and institutions to condemn the indiscriminate attacks against peasant communities by the 8th ID, AFP and Duterte.
“We urge them to conduct fact-finding missions and hold accountable the commanders by calling to remove them from their posts. We urge them to raise their voices louder against Duterte’s total war policy and to join the widening call to oust and end his regime.”#