ILOILO CITY – Strings of criminal cases will be filed against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for detonating two anti-personnel mines (APM) that injured two government troops during an encounter that lasted about seven minutes in Barangay Jolason, Tubungan, Iloilo on Oct. 24.
Two members of the 1st Iloilo Provincial Mobile Force Command (IPMFC) were injured in the clash against elements of the NPA’s Southern Front Committee, Komiteng Rehiyon Panay.
Lt. Alwin Salmon, officer-in-charge of the Tubungan Municipal Police Station, identified the wounded as Pat. Jessie Castamado, who was already discharged from the hospital, and Corporal Genel Simpas, who is confined in a hospital here.
“We are finalizing the documents and we will secure the affidavits of the victims for filing of the case,” Salmon said in an interview on Monday. “The cases will be in relation to use of explosives and physical injuries, among others.”
The international community adopted the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention prohibiting the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of weapons.
More than 160 states are party to the APM Ban Convention that went into effect in 1999.
APM is prohibited under international humanitarian law.
Salmon said the 1st IPMFC team was conducting a hot pursuit operation past 2 p.m. following an early morning explosion believed to have been perpetrated by the communist terrorist group (CTG) at the police detachment in Barangay Mayang.
“We could not yet identify what caused the explosion at the IPFMC base,” Salmon said, adding that a private vehicle near the area incurred a dent, probably caused by a sharp object.
Barangay Mayang is about two kilometers away from the town proper while Barangay Jolason is 1.2 kilometers away from Mayang and situated in an elevated portion.
Salmon said both villages are not considered NPA-infested and the CTG probably wanted to make its presence felt.
In a statement on Monday, Police Regional Office 6 Director, Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda, said such atrocities show the CPP-NPA is “upset” with police presence in Barangay Mayang.
“They do not want a peaceful and progressive community. Their fraudulent actions show that they are weakening and are only desperate to project that they remain strong and capable force when in fact they are not,” he said.
Instead of causing harm, he urged the rebels to return to the government because there are programs that will help them lead normal and peaceful lives.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)