MANILA – No statement or "internal investigation" by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) will ever compensate for the two lives lost in the communist terrorists' unprovoked anti-personnel mine (APM) attack in Masbate City last June 6, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.
"No statement or 'internal investigation' shall compensate or bring true justice for the lives of two exceptional young men, whose bright futures were gone in an instant as “collateral damage” to their senseless war," he said in a statement.
Lorenzana was referring to the CPP-NPA's effort to appease public opinion against the APM attack that killed Far Eastern University football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven.
The incident also wounded Kieth's 16-year old nephew Chrisbin Daniel.
"Rest assured that we will not let this incident be taken in vain. I’ll make sure that justice will be served," the DND chief added even as he condemns the CPP-NPA for causing these unnecessary deaths by APMs.
Lorenzana dismissed CPP-NPA claims that the incident was a "tactical error" as these explosives were planted there to inflict pain and damage.
"The CPP-NPA’s persistent use of landmines is a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law, undeniable proof of their utter disregard for the safety of innocent civilians," he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Meanwhile, DND Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu said the tragic deaths of the Absalon cousins are emblematic of the crimes against the Filipino people committed by the communist terrorist group (CTG).
"Thousands have died in the hands of the CTG – our youth, our farmers, our security forces, our local executives, and our indigenous peoples. Thousands more are deceived by these remorseless terrorists, who are bent on undermining the Republic, pitting Filipinos against fellow Filipinos. Even worse, the CTG has no qualms about harming innocent civilians, women, and children. Their lies and violence know no bounds," he said.
Mapagu is the head of Task Force Balik-Loob and the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), and Amnesty Program (EAP) Cluster under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).
"No less than the leadership of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) must be held accountable for these deplorable crimes that violate the International Humanitarian Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The lip service in the form of an apology by the CPP-NPA in the wake of the deaths of the Absalon cousins cannot and will not change anything," he added.
He said the CTG's false ideology continues to damage and hamper the nation's road to peace and progress.
"We take this opportunity now to urge the Filipino people including the active members and the supporters of the CPP-NPA-NDF to forsake this treacherous and criminal terrorist group. It is only when we, the Filipino people, all unite can we finally end the scourge of the CTG," he added.The use of APMs is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law and the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention adopted by the international community, prohibiting the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of weapons. (PNA)