We consider as important the attention given by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the spate of killings in Negros island. We agree that the surge of killings and abuses are linked to the issues of land rights, poverty and injustice. Grave abuses have been committed against the peasants masses who have long been demanding for land and justice.
Towards the end of its statement, the HRW said: “Responsibility for the killings remains unclear. But both the government and the NPA should take all necessary measures to end unlawful attacks, either by their forces or armed elements linked to them. Killing civilians and captured combatants are war crimes.”
We assure the HRW that all units of the NPA are well aware of, conscientiously study and abide by the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I, to which the NPA has declared to apply in the conduct of the civil war in the Philippines.
In a previous statement, we have maintained that the four policemen killed in Ayungon town last July 18 died in the course of a legitimate act of war. They died in an NPA ambush and were not tortured as falsely claimed by Philippine Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
In fact, in an online news report published that day in Rappler [https://www.rappler.com/nation/235740-policemen-killed-ambush-negros-oriental-july-2019], Major Leo Logronio of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Mobile Force Battalion Region VII was quoted saying that the subject police officers “succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds which caused their instant deaths.” The bodies were recovered at the same area of the ambush.
The CPP and NPA do not have a hand in the successive killings of civilians. The killing of seven civilians last July 25 fall into the pattern of coordinated operations of the police and military. We believe that they are victims of death squads attached to the military and police in Negros island meant to intimidate the people against supporting the armed resistance of the NPA. Many of them have been previously publicly tagged as sympathizers of the NPA.