Wed. Jun 23rd, 2021

A ranking military official in the Bicol Region said the recent anti-personnel mine (APM) blast that killed two civilians and wounded another in Masbate is a manifestation of communist terrorist groups’ (CTGs) weakening capability as they can no longer face the security forces head-on.

Among those killed from the mine blast was Far Eastern University (FEU) varsity player Kieth Absalon, 21.

Army Major Gen. Henry A. Robinson, Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia commander on Sunday strongly condemned the terrorist attack as he extended his condolences to the bereaved family of the promising football and his cousin Nolven Absalon, 40. Kieth’s 16-year-ol nephew, Chrisbin Absalon sustained injuries.

New People’s rebels detonated an APM while the victims and a group of bikers pedaled their way in Purok 4, Barangay Anas, Masbate City at around 10 a,m. of June 6.

On May 1, two civilians were killed and five others were injured in an APM explosion detonated by NPA rebels in Uson, Masbate. On May 23, a government employee was also injured after an NPA-planted APM exploded in Milagros, Masbate.

He said that around the same time on Sunday, another explosion in Barangay Homapon, Legazpi City injuring four motorists including a lawyer.

“The incidents in Masbate and Legazpi were violations of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as the terrorists targeted innocent civilians. These crimes are proofs that the CTG is anti-people, anti-development, and selfish,” Robinson said.

This, he said, is the reason why Bicolanos loathe communist insurgency because they know that as long as it exists, communist terrorists, who are controlled by their leaders, will continue to spread violence and terror.

“They claim to be protectors of the masses and ctoiticizes the government for its inadequacies but the truth is, their groups’ self-serving interest is the cause of people’s suffering, he added in Filipino.

Robinson assured that JTF Bicolandia will work hand in hand with their counterpart in the Philippine National Police to arrest the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.

JTF Bicolandia, he added, also believes that the recent incidents were carried out to divert government troops’ focus on the ongoing combat operations in Sorsogon where CTG hideouts were overran, materials and supplies were seized.

He added that in the 3rd District of Masbate, massive surrenderers were recorded while firearms, voluminous CTG materials, and documents were seized, disrupting the terrorist group’s ill plans and unlawful activities.

Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, Battalion Commander of Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB), said he immediately directed his troops to hunt down the perpetrators while tightening the security measures in the Masbate.

Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, lambasted the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)–NPA for their cowardly acts. SOVEREIGNPH

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