Faustino denounces Samar landmine blast, vows to strengthen counter-insurgency ops

Published July 6, 2022, 2:05 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Department of National Defense (DND) Officer-in-Charge Jose Faustino Jr. strongly condemned on Wednesday, July 6, the landmine blast allegedly perpetrated by communist rebels in Mapanas, Northern Samar which injured seven soldiers.

Personnel od the 20th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army get first aid after they were injured when an anti-personnel mine was detonated by suspected communist rebels in Mapanas, Northern Samar on July 5, 2022. (Photo courtesy of 8th Infantry Division)

“This is a very isolated case and a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law, more specifically, an incontrovertible violation of the Ottawa Convention which bans and condemns the use of landmines,” Faustino said in a statement.

Faustino, a retired military chief, said the DND will strengthen the efforts of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to fully eradicate the threat of communist insurgency in the country. The NTF-ELCAC is a government task force created in 2018 to address the ongoing communist rebellion in the country.

“We will relentlessly support the whole-of-nation approach to the government’s counter-insurgency operations to address the root causes of the insurgency, and finally end the scourge wrought by these terrorists on the Filipino people,” Faustino stated.

On Tuesday, July 5, four anti-personnel mines planted along the road in Barangay Magsaysay, Mapanas, Northern Samar were detonated by unidentified suspects, injuring seven soldiers from the 20th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Division.

Of the seven injured, two were in critical condition.

The soldiers were on an immersion in the village and conducting clearing operations after getting reports from the residents that communist rebels have planted landmines in the area where civilians pass by.

Maj. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander of 8ID, ordered a hot pursuit operation against the individuals who detonated the mines. He suspected that the perpetrators were members of communist groups operating in Mapanas.