By Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Army (PA) on Friday said that the recent ambush perpetrated by Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) on a rescue vehicle of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) in North Cotabato, is further proof that they are plain bandits.
Army Spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, made the remark after one of the personnel of the MDRRMO who was inside the vehicle transporting two wounded soldiers at Sitio Tiwayan, Badiangon, Arakan, North Cotabato on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, was hurt as a result of the attack.
The victim, identified as Jonel Bayaan, a resident of Sitio Lake Sagan, Barangay Meocan, Arakan, was brought to a hospital after he sustained bullet wounds to his right thigh and arm.
Zagala said base on a report he received from the field, Bayaan was among the civilians who were caught in the crossfire following the attacked by CNTs belonging to the Guerrilla Front 53.
The attackers are said to be led by one alias “Joel” whom soldiers of the 19th Infantry Battalion encountered a few hours before the ambush.
The ambush eventually led to a firefight which lasted for about 25 minutes.
“This (ambush) is further proof that the NPA are just plain bandits who have no respect for human rights and the International Humanitarian Law,” Zagala said in a statement.
“Contrary to their claims of being pro-people, they (CPP-NPA) are further reduced to recalcitrant who does not discriminate a combatant from a helpless civilian,” he added.
Zagala, at the same time, said the ambush staged by Communist terrorists should serve as a reminder to the people and foreign neighbors of how their seemingly harmless donations are being used to fuel terror.
“Only an inclusive local and international cooperation is necessary to stop them,” Zagala said.
Zagala said the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) or the law of armed conflict protects persons who are not or no longer participating in hostilities and restricts methods of warfare.
“It also prohibits parties to the conflict from harming civilians,” he said.