NDF offers to pay grenade blast victims
Army plays down communist gesture, says justice requires surrender of rebsPhilippine Daily Inquirer
DAVAO CITY—The underground National Democratic Front (NDF) said it would compensate victims of the Sept. 1 grenade attack that injured dozens of people in a village here and which the New People’s Army (NPA) claimed responsibility for.
The military, however, said the only way that the rebels could do justice to the victims was to turn in the guerrillas who were behind the grenade explosion at a carnival in Barangay Fatima, Paquibato District.
In a statement dated Sept. 12, the NDF’s Regional Council for the Davao provinces said the indemnification offer was based on the recommendation of the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command, which investigated the attack.
In findings that it made public, the guerrilla command admitted that the rebels involved in the grenade attack made errors in decision.
The site of the explosion was the village’s gymnasium, about 3 meters from a military detachment that was the rebels’ original target. Villagers, many of them children, had converged in the gymnasium, where a carnival was set up.
The NDF said the compensation offer was “a unilateral exercise of revolutionary political authority by a government of the working class and peasantry that has its own legal and judicial system and rules in accordance with its political principles and circumstances.”
The NDF did not specify the amount to be given to the victims but said based on its list, the number of those who will be compensated was 41.
It was not clear why the list was seven persons less than the official figure of injuries reported by the military.
The NDF said it was seeking “the intercession of concerned professionals and peace advocates … in expediting the dispensation of indemnification and to make public this exercise of executive function.”
Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said the compensation would not do justice to the victims.
The rebels should instead turn in comrades who were behind the grenade attack, he said, calling the compensation offer as an effort by the rebels to “save face.”
“They are criminals,” Paniza said. “They are not the legal government,” he said.
The compensation offer was made public just as communist rebels continued to attack businesses in parts of Mindanao.
On Thursday, guerrillas set on fire a truck owned by Dole Stanfilco in Makilala, North Cotabato.
Col. Prudencio Asto, speaking for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the attack came after Dole Stanfilco refused to pay so-called revolutionary taxes.
A military report said the NPA had destroyed more than
P20 million worth of agricultural machinery and equipment belonging to private contractors involved in road projects. Ayan Mellejor with a report from Edwin Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao