The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denounced the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) for detonating an anti-personnel mine near a convoy of vehicles carrying troops, local volunteers and foreign observers who were passing by Sitio Nasandigan, Barangay Kalabugao, Impasug-ong town, Bukidnon Thursday.
"We denounce strongly this attack on foreign observers who were in (the) country to visit various projects of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the locality. They are non-combatant civilians," AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo told reporters.
At least 11 people, including seven soldiers, were wounded in the incident.
Foreign observers from IP communities in Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Malaysia went to Sitio Mintapod, Barangay Hagpa, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon to observe the activity of IP community volunteers belonging to Higaonon Amamag Malandang Olandok Gagaw (HAMOG), a non-government organization which promotes cultural preservation in the area.
The group is also scheduled to have a forest visitation for their “PAUNLAY TA AGHIMICU” (forest visitation phase II).
HAMOG sought the assistance of the Impasug-ong IP Mandatory Representatives and the Philippine Army for security during their activity.
"That is a totally detestable act by the CPP-NPA that deserves widespread, global condemnation. It only shows that contrary to their portrayed role, they are anti-IP progress. The CPP-NPA wants our rural folks to remain poor and dejected," Arevalo added.
He said Filipinos should all unite and reject these CPP-NPA terrorists who are menaces to society and puts the country in a bad light by their deliberate use of anti-personnel mines.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.