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Stop the bombings news #4 (February-march 2024)

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STB News or Stop The Bombings News is an FFPS initiative to expose the terrorist bombing campaign of the Philippine countryside by the US-Marcos regime through the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The bombings are part of its ‘counterinsurgency’ war against the revolutionary movement and people. These bombings terrorize and endanger the rural communities. STB News is part of the FFPS campaign to ‘stop the bombings’.  

Bombings in Quezon-Camarines Sur  

The 81st Infantry Battalion of the AFP bombed, strafed and shelled villages at the border of Quezon and Camarines Sur province in the early morning of March 4th. According to the AFP, this was to hit a guerrilla camp of the New People’s Army (NPA). Initial reports indicate that the NPA unit was able to safely shift to another area.

The local communities were heavily affected by the bombings. The masses reported explosions close to their communities. Three farmers were almost hit by helicopter strafing as they were working in their fields, despite the fact they signaled that they were civilians. Besides the direct trauma and suffering, the communities also indirectly suffer because of the destruction of the environment, which is their livelihood.

Communist Party of the Philippines chief information officer Marco Valbuena pointed out that the Quezon-Camarines Sur bombing and the terrorist bombing campaign in general are done with US and Israeli bombs and howitzers. The terrorist ‘counterinsurgency’ war against the Filipino people and their people’s army is only possible through arms trade with imperialists and their lackeys.

Bombings in Panay

On February 28th, the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the AFP bombed several barangays in San Joaquin town. In this terrorist operation the AFP used 500-lb aerial bombs, strafing, and rocket-firing from helicopters and artillery shelling. The AFP said this was to support ground troops that supposedly were in an encounter with NPA fighters. The NPA denies this, reporting that no armed encounter happened and that there were no AFP soldiers in the area of the bombing.

The disproportionate bombing and shelling in San Joaquin resulted in the reported loss of three Red fighters. The week earlier, on February 21-22, the AFP carried out a similar aerial bombings, helicopter strafing and artillery shelling drive in and around communities in the northern part of Negros Occidental.

The peasant masses are also severely affected by these bombings. There are reports of the AFP keeping the masses from working in their fields. With failing crop yield due to lack of rain amidst El Niño, this is tantamount to starving the local communities and shows the repressive nature of the Philippine government. This is in stark contrast with the NPA, whose units have been assisting the peasant masses to cope with the drought.

Bombings in Bukidnon

Using several Infantry Battalions and local police, the 10th Infantry Division of the AFP bombed several Bukidnon towns from December to February. Just in February, there have been two incidents of bombing and shelling. The most recent bombing was on February 23rd in the mountains between San Fernando, Quezon, and Valencia City. Two days before, the same area was bombed.

The AFP claimed that they were targeting the NPA. However, locals observed that the shelling had no clear target. The area that was bombed is home to thousands of the indigenous Lumad peoples. Due to the attacks, the locals experienced severe trauma and damage to their livelihood. Moreover, four civilians were detained by the AFP and forced to guide the AFP to an NPA ‘camp’. Although the AFP claims that they merely want to rid the area of ‘terrorists’, these attacks on the Lumads are also meant to pave the way for foreign companies to exploit this area. The Philippine government and the AFP are eager to crush the Lumad communities so they can serve their imperialist masters.

NDFP condemns AFP atrocities

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) called Marcos Jr. the ‘number one IHL [International Humanitarian Law] violator’ in the February 29th issue of Updates Philippines. The NDFP highlighted the rising cases of civilian killings and bombings committed by the AFP. Some of the attacks mentioned were the bombings of San Joaquin and Escalante city, the killing of an elderly couple in Masbate and the kidnapping of Berting and his children in connection with the Bohol massacre. These attacks are condemned as grave violations of IHL.

If you or your organization has any news related to the stop the bombings campaign, please share it with us at secretariat_ffps@protonmail.com 

Sources: 

  1. https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/condemn-us-marcos-regime-for-quezon-camsur-bombing-nationwide-bombing-spree-amid-drought-conditions/
  2. https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/amid-drought-afps-aerial-bombing-and-artillery-shelling-in-panay-and-negros-outrages-the-peasant-masses/
  3. https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/afp-unleashes-terror-among-bukidnon-lumads-with-bombing-and-shelling/
  4. https://philippinerevolution.nu/angbayan/10th-id-indiscriminately-bomb-and-shell-bukidnon/
  5. https://www.karapatan.org/media_release/rights-group-decries-bombings-ihl-violations-in-negros-panay/
  6. https://updatesphilippines.info/images/printfiles/UpdatesPH_VolVINo04_29Feb2024.pdf page 2