From the Mindanao Gold Star Daily (Nov 2): Military hits NPA use of grenades in civilian community
GOVERNMENT troops did not suffer as much casualties contrary to what the New People’s Army (NPA) has claimed during a recent encounter in a rural village in San Fernando town, Bukidnon, the spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division said on Wednesday. This, even as Lt. Col. Eugene Julio Osias IV, 4ID spokesperson, denounced the guerrillas for allegedly using grenades during an attack in a predomnantly civilian community. “We condemn the treacherous attack. The NPAs lobbed grenades without considering the civilians. It was much like the grenade incident at Paquibato District in Davao last month. Luckily, no civilian was hurt,” Osias said. Ariel “Inda” Magbanwag, spokesperson of the NPA’s Ernesto “Boyboy” Roa Command, claimed they have seriously wounded 1st Lt. Jonald Fallar, commanding officer of the Bravo Company of 4ID’s 8th Infantry Battalion along with two regular enlisted soldiers and six members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) when their combatants attacked in Barangay Bunacao, San Fernando town, Bukidnon, in the evening of Oct. 24. “Actually, not a single shrapnel hit Lt. Fallar. Only one soldier and three Cafgus were slightly wounded. The use of fragmentation grenades in civilian communities are dangerous because this is not a focus target directed weapon. To whom it may concerned ang matatamaan niyan,” Osias said. Osias said the military has banned the use of grenades in civilian populated areas. “These mercenary troops are the ones responsible in hamleting the residents from June to July 12,” reads part of Magbanwag’s statement. Magbanwag said that when soldiers erected a makeshift camp near the community, the soldiers used the civilians as “human shields.” This, he added, is in direct violation of the International Protocols of War. However, Osias said the unit that the NPAs “harassed” last week was “not combat-maneuver troops but an information and awareness campaign team.” “The unit was doing their regular barangay visitation and coordination in line with the Army’s peace-building efforts in the area. They were there upon the invitation of the village chair. Our troops do not have encampments in the area, makeshift or otherwise,” said Osias.