Monday, November 29, 2010

NPA snipers carried out legitimate offensive in hitting enemy combatants and sparing civilians

NPA snipers carried out legitimate offensive
in hitting enemy combatants and sparing civilians

Fr. Santiago "Sanny" Salas
NDF - Eastern Visayas
November 28, 2010

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today commended the New People's Army in Northern Samar for carrying out a successful sniping operation while ensuring the safety of civilians in Brgy. San Isidro, Las Navas last Nov. 22. "According to the terms of international humanitarian law, the NPA carried out a legitimate offensive because it targeted enemy combatants of the 6th Field Artillery Battery and did not harm any civilians," said Fr. Santiago Salas. "Gen. Mario Chan, 8th Infantry Division chief, makes up the cock-and-bull psywar story that the NPA committed rights violations. The enemy casualties, Sergeant Rennie Solis who was killed and Technical Sergeant Edgardo Tahum who was wounded, were legitimate targets as regular combatants. The 8th ID really wants to hide its embarrassment over having veteran noncommissioned officers such as these as casualties, for being careless in the warzone and paying dearly. Moreover, the real violation of international humanitarian law is that the enemy combatants and their unit were encamped and mingling in a village of civilians and thus putting them in harm's way as human shields. The NPA sniping operation was a way of ensuring that only legitimate targets were hit and that civilians were safe."

Fr. Salas added that the NPA sniping operation was entirely different from the cowardly and cold-blooded attack by the 19th Infantry Battalion without identifying their targets, and that killed leading botanist Leonardo Co and two other civilians in Kananga, Leyte last Nov. 15. "The 8th ID in fact flagrantly disregards international humanitarian law by insisting that the massacre in Kananga was a legitimate operation, even though civilians had been killed. Furthermore, the 8th ID is talking only to itself in making an investigation in collaboration with the police and recently clearing the 19th IB elements of wrongdoing. Everybody else is demanding an impartial civilian investigation, while the Communist Party of the Philippines goes even further by calling for a joint investigation by the Philippine government and the NDFP. As far as the massacre of Co and his companions is concerned, the revolutionary movement has nothing to hide and is willing to cooperate in a joint investigation. But the 8th ID is twisting in the wind in trying to do a cover-up in the face of intense public scrutiny. Its expression of remorse without an apology is nothing more than hypocrisy."

The NDF-EV praised the NPA for carrying out the revolutionary war against the Aquino regime while putting the highest premium on protecting civilians. "The NPA observes human rights and international humanitarian law in word and in practice. That is the crucial difference between the NPA and the 8th ID. Gen. Mario Chan mouths platitudes about human rights, but snarls and defends his men who are accused of violations. The 8th ID is thus the paragon not of sincerity but of incorrigibility. As the Aquino regime claims to uphold human rights in preparing a new international security plan to replace Oplan Bantay Laya, the people should continue to stand up and fight the military's impunity for rights violations."

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