Masbate blast: Makabayan bloc condemns NPA unit’s ‘military action’
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives called on the families of the victims of a landmine explosion in Masbate City to file a complaint as they condemned Wednesday the “military action” of a unit of the New People’s Army that led to the incident.
This came after the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA have taken “full responsibility for the tragedy” in Masbate and declared “deep remorse” for the “untimely and unnecessary” deaths of Far Eastern University football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven Absalon.
“We condemn the military action by a unit of the NPA in Masbate City that caused their death and injuries to others for violating international humanitarian law,” the Makabayan bloc–which is composed of Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro; Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago–said in a statement.
“Our commitment to human rights binds us to condemn any and all acts that harm or kill unarmed civilians, non-combatants, and protected persons in situations of armed conflict,” the bloc added.
The lawmakers likewise urged the Absalon family to report the incident to the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), the body that accepts complaints on the non-compliance by either the CPP-NPA or government forces such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
“Filing a complaint with the JMC will serve as an important reminder on the need for both the signatories to the CARHRIHL – the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) that represents the CPP-NPA – to always abide by the laws of war: all non-combatants, civilians and civilian populations should be spared and protected, so that there will be no more Absalons to be needlessly lost,” the Makabayan lawmakers said.
“We welcome the CPP-NPA statement acknowledging and accepting full responsibility and expressing deep remorse over the Absalons’ deaths. We look forward to a full and impartial investigation into the incident, and to the CPP-NPA’s response to any complaint to be filed against them with the JMC,” they added.
The Makabayan lawmakers likewise said that the Absalons’ deaths and the “rising number of CARHRIHL violations by the PNP-AFP” should compel the government and the NDFP to fully reactivate the JMC and “to reopen the formal peace negotiations and to fully address the root causes of the raging armed conflict.”
Reports said that the victims were cycling in Barangay Anas in Masbate City when an improvised explosive device exploded.
The CPP-NPA said the explosion resulted from “errors in the military action mounted by an NPA unit in Barangay Anas.”
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