bombing runs routine actions in gov’t’s destructive all-out war

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas assailed the continuing military operations in Talumpok Silangan Batangas City that included aerial strikes and strafing of civilian communities following a clash between government forces and the New People’s Army, early morning of September 24. The KMP holds accountable Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina, commanding general of the Philippine Air Force for the air strikes.”

“The military said the operations are in pursuit of the NPA but the air strikes targeted civilian communities, destroying houses and farms. How can farmers escape bombs dropped by military planes? Ano pang babalikan ng mga magsasaka kung nawasak na ng mga bomba ang mga bahay at pananim nila,” said Gigi Bautista of Samahang Magbubukid ng Batangas.

“Bombing runs and indiscriminate firing are routine actions in the government’s all-out war. Indiscriminate air strikes have worsened since Duterte’s Martial Law in Mindanao. Batangas City is just a few hours away from Metro Manila. The all-out war is closing in on us. We must unite and fight this wanton violation of human rights,” said Eriberto Pena of Tanggol Magsasaka, a watchdog monitoring human rights violations against farmers.

“When AFP units cannot go after the NPA, by default, the soldiers instantly direct the attack to farmers and civilians in the area as form of retaliation.”

Since Sunday, the Philippine Air Force 202nd Infantry Brigade has launched aerial bombings in upland peasant communities in several villages, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate to safer grounds. Col. Arnulfo Burgos, commanding officer of the 202nd Brigade said the strikes were conducted to apprehend escaping members of the New People’s Army.

At least 80 families are seeking shelter in Barangay Talahib Pandayan and 50 families are in Barangay Cumba and. The Batangas City government has suspended classes in local elementary schools in Tibig, Cumba, Talahib Pandayan, Talahib Pandayan National High School, elementary schools in Talahib Payapa, Sto. Domingo, Maruclap, Conde Itaas, Talumpok Proper, Talumpok Silangan, Talumpok National High School, elementary schools of Haligue Silangan, Haligue Kanluran, Sto. Niño and Sto. Niño National High School.

Since May this year, more than half a million civilians evacuated from their communities as a result of the combined air strikes and ground operations in the provinces of Quirino, Marawi City, Bukidnon, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Southern Mindanao Region, Samar, Negros Occidental, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Misamis Oriental.

Tomorrow morning, KMP, Anakpawis Partylist, Tanggol Magsasaka and other peasant and human-rights based organizations will protest at the AFP Headquarters in Quezon City to demand a halt to the militarization of peasant communities. ###