Philippines: Expose the 5th ID’s hand-washing following the aerial bombing in Peñablanca, Cagayan!

Hereby we publish an unofficial translation of an article published in Philippine Revolution website.

The 502nd Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, Tactical Operations Group-2 (TOG2-PAF), and Task Force Tala have decided to do not bomb the community of Lapi, Peñablanca but are reluctant to stand up and take responsibility for causing great fear and trauma to the citizens. Now that they are being fried in their own oil, they are denying the terrorist horror.

By distorting what really happened, they only further taint the future. What happened is their attack helicopters and fighter jets dropped from three to 10 bombs, followed by a .50 caliber machine gun rampage, based on eyewitnesses and initial reports. The AFP has a dirty reputation as peddlers of propaganda and disinformation, and the people are increasingly aware of the corruption of the AFP.

Due to the extent of the damage and condemnation from the residents, the AFP hypocritically blamed the explosion on the alleged “improvised explosive devices (IED’s) of the NPA.” In this regard, NPA Cagayan clarifies and refutes such allegation. Testimonies, videos and pictures will refute these hollow accusations by the 5th ID.

Just in the morning of May 9, two attack helicopters were spotted flying in the Peñablanca area and continued until the night, until the residents of Tuguegarao City and Peñablanca were startled by a strange sound due to the very low flight of the fighter jet. It was followed by a series of powerful explosions that shook nearby towns around 2 to 3 am. It was heard and felt even in the towns of Baggao, Enrile and Amulung based on the stories of the residents.

Expressions of fear and apprehension poured into social media, which were initially thought to be part of the Balikatan exercises. It was 7 o’clock in the morning when the military confirmed through a Facebook post by Radyo Pilipinas Tuguegarao, that they were behind the terrorist bombing from the air. Based on the Facebook post of the loca government of Peñablanca, the barangay chief of Lapi himself confirmed “that they heard the aircraft at the same time as the explosions and gunfire in the mountainous part of the barangay at dawn which caused fear among the residents.” It had pictures attached to the place but was immediately removed from the post. In addition, some residents have already evacuated and went to relatives and neighboring villages.

The 5th ID under the leadership of MGen Audrey Pasia, BGen Eugene Mata of the 502nd IBde, Col Glenn Piquero, Group Commander of TOG2-PAF and the entire Northern Luzon Command (NolCom) should be charged and held accountable for another incident which is a violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). The Geneva Conventions clearly state the protection of the safety of civilians and indirect participants in war, in the process and conduct of its launch. Bombing from the air is a clear violation of this rule because it does not distinguish civilians from combatants. There is also excessive use of force (disproportionate use of force) against those who are said to be “residual and incapable of fighting” but in fact mainly target civilian communities and farms.

The broadest united front must be formed to fight the indiscriminate bombings launched by the fascist AFP. The entire revolutionary forces in Cagayan urge human rights defenders, church-related people, environmentalists, media and other individuals and organizations to launch an investigation and fact-finding mission in the affected areas. At the same time, the condemnation and exposure of the aerial bombardment of the 5th ID that endangered the lives and livelihoods of Cagayans should be echoed. This is the eighth case of terrorism from the air by the 5th ID in the province of Cagayan, and only under the US-Marcos Jr. regime. The 5th ID should be criticized for squandering citizens’ taxes on bombs and ammunition, which should have been earmarked for mass welfare and social services. While the people of Cagayan are being killed by hunger and poverty due to the severe effects of El Niño and the State’s criminal negligence, now they are literally being killed by the terrorist horror of the AFP.

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