On Noynoy Aquino’s 3rd year: Bombing used to “clear” target communities

The bombing of communities, especially the resource-rich ancestral domain of indigenous peoples, in northern and southern Philippines is part of the Aquino government’s war tactics as it intensifies the implementation of its own version of Oplan Bantay Laya, the Oplan Bayanihan. 

On May 31 the Abra Human Rights Movement reported air strikes by the 503rd Brigade of the AFP which dropped bombs at Bolan/Pugopog, east of Barangay Duldulao in Malibcong, Abra.  A bomb also exploded at the Allikoman ricefields, some 180 meters away from the residential houses in Barangay Alligang and in a ricefield in Barangay Lat-ey, 150 meters from the community’s powerhouse. Two minors, aged 13 and 17, were almost hit by the bombs. 

“Bombing of communities is an act of desperation on the government’s part. When it cannot hit its target it resorts to retaliation through indiscriminate firing that hits civilians and damages people’s sources of livelihood and the environment,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.    

Karapatan cited other cases of bombings of communities under the Aquino regime, among them:

 

  • On May 7, 2012, bombing led to an evacuation of some 80 families from Sitio 33, Bgy. New Visayas in Trento, Agusan del Sur. The military operation was conducted by members of the 25th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
  • On February 28, 2012, bombing, strafing and airstrikes in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte and in Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte by the 402nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. Some 58 families from Alegria, Surigao del Norte evacuated to Bgy. Ombon. 
  • On March 5, 2012 simultaneous with the Kitcharao bombings were aerial strikes by two helicopters in Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit town, Surigao del Norte. Two houses were hit. Residents of Sitios Pagbangayan, Kalatingga, Katikuyan and Bongogon went to Sitios Banban and Omaw, in the same village. 
  • Also on March 5, 2012, in the nearby town of Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, two fighter planes dropped four bombs near the communities of Ansili and Zapanta. The bombings were near the houses that the residents felt the impact of every detonation. The planes were followed by a helicopter that strafed the forest areas. 
  • June 1, 2012, In Sarangani province, 332 families evacuated from Barangays Kinabalan, Banate, Laurel of Malungon town after heavy bombings by the military in the area. Soldiers of the 57th, 58th and 73rd IB were in pursuit of NPA rebels. 

 

“The airstrikes are reminiscent of the past regimes that launched fascist attacks against the people. For this alone, the Aquino government contradicts its posturing that it differs from the past governments,” added Palabay. 

“Three years in power is more than enough to prove that the hands of Noynoy Aquino are sullied with the blood of its own people who were victims of his counterinsurgency program and whose rights were violated. He could no longer point a finger and accuse anyone of these violations for he holds the rein. Enough of posturing, we say,” concluded Palabay.