Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana condemned on Tuesday, June 8, the detonation of an anti-personnel mine allegedly by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Bicol Region that killed a rising football player from the Far Eastern University (FEU) and his uncle.
Keith Absalon, 21, and his uncle Nolven Absalon, 40, were biking along Barangay Anas in Masbate City around 6:45 a.m. last Sunday when the explosive suddenly went off.
The explosion killed Keith and Nolven, and injured five others including Nolven’s 16-year-old son, who was hit by shrapnel. The injured teenager was brought to Masbate Provincial Hospital for treatment.
Absalon was named Most Valuable Player of the UAAP juniors division in Season 78 while playing for FEU. He was also a part of the Philippine football team that competed in the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation Under-19 Championship in Indonesia.
“The NPA’s crime against innocent civilians is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law. It is a clear manifestation of their anti-people and anti-development ways that are worthy of the Filipino’s condemnation,” Sobejana said.
The AFP Chief extended his condolences to the families and loved ones left behind by the victims.
“Both were victims of injustice and criminal predisposition of the abhorred CTGs [communist-terrorist groups]. The military and police are one with the victims’ families in seeking justice for their untimely death,” Sobejana said.
Another explosion transpired in Barangay Homapon, Legazpi City that injured four motorists, including a lawyer, around 10:00 a.m. of the same day.
Meanwhile, troops from the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion were ordered to hunt down the perpetrators while tightening security measures in the area.
Three suspected communist rebels were killed in pursuit operations by the military and police in Barangay Anas, Masbate City around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Also seized on the encounter site were three M-16 rifles and an M-14 rifle believed to be used by the suspects.
“The attacks against non-combatants are desperate attempts by the CTGs to regain influence and support from the people who have grown tired of their deception and are now denouncing their lawless activities,” Sobejana said.