Thursday, June 6, 2019

Workers stop NPA attack on Bukidnon construction firm

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 6, 2019): Workers stop NPA attack on Bukidnon construction firm

Workers of a construction firm in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, took matters in their own hands to prevent armed men believed to be communist rebels who staged a predawn attack on Thursday (June 6), the military said.

Personnel of Venray Construction Corporation in their field office in Brgy Cabangahan were roused from their sleep around 2:30 a.m. when one of their company vehicles was set on fire, the Army's 403rd Infantry Brigade said.

This prompted the workers to drive away the armed men, who scampered away onboard eight motorcycles and fled southwards, according to witnesses.

"The workers immediately doused the fire with water and fire extinguisher, preventing it from spreading" to the other equipment," the 403IB said, adding fire trucks from nearby villages responded minutes later to completely put out the fire.

"The NPA has launched a series of violent attacks on civilians not just in Bukidnon but in other parts of the country," Brig. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, 403IB commander, said in Filipino.

De Leon added: "The leadership of the CPP and the NDF must explain why they can't discipline the NPA from continuously attacking civilians who are not party" to any armed conflict between the government and the rebel group.”

De Leon was referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the NPA's mother organization, and the National Democratic Front, its own political wing.

According to de Leon, investigators are gathering information for the filing of appropriate cases against CPP-NDF-NPA members and their leaders.

In particular, the military official said the communist leadership should answer whether the area that the NPA attacked "is a military camp or a civilian compound; if the equipment burned owned by military or by civilian; and if the equipment burned ever used by military or involved in a military operation against NPA.

He added that the rebels should also answer whether "the people accosted by the NPA ever participated in military operations against the NPA, and if the Venray construction company involved in direct military operations against the NPA.

The 403IB said that "should the result of initial investigation provides a strong case that the NPA attacked civilians," appropriate cases will be filed before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

It said a case will also be filed at the Regional Trial Court Branch 25 in Cagayan de Oro City, the special court designated to try International Humanitarian Law cases.

De Leon also called on the leftist human rights group Karapatan, "which claims to be a citizens watch that monitors IHL violations, to do a parallel investigation to determine if the NPA indeed violated IHL in this particular incident or not."

Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, 4th Infantry Division commander, said he is "thankful to the workers' courageous act of shooing away the NPA terrorists to prevent their equipment from being destroyed and for the quick response of BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection) responders."

"This is the real essence of the "whole of nation" approach in preventing the communist NPA terrorists from sowing chaos in our place. This incident proves that the local communist terrorists are no match to people who unite and resist, even if the people are unarmed," Gacal said.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

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