EXPLOSION. The site where an anti-personnel mine planted by the New People's Army exploded on the outskirts of Pinabacdao, Samar. The detonation has wounded a soldier and a militiaman. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Army has condemned the New People’s Army for detonating an anti-personnel mine (APM) that wounded a soldier and a militiaman in Pinabacdao, Samar on Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Edgardo De Leon, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said in a statement on Wednesday the incident proves the NPA’s "willful disregard on the safety and well-being of humanity."

Their continuing manufacture, stockpile, and use of anti-personnel mines is a gross disrespect to the United Nations convention that bans the explosives to protect humans from its mutilating effects and suffering, according to the military official.

NPA members reportedly detonated an anti-personnel mine in Pelaon village, Pinabacdao town around 8:26 a.m. on Tuesday.

Soldiers and members of the auxiliary force were heading to a new detachment when the blast took place.

The military built the new detachment in response to an earlier request by the community leaders and residents.

"The leaders of the National Democratic Front (NDF), which represented the NPA in past peace negotiations, should be held answerable for the continuing International Humanitarian Law violations of the NPA that they have been representing,” De Leon added.

On September 18, 1997, the Ottawa Convention banned the use, stockpile, production, and transfer of anti-personnel mines to put an end to the unnecessary suffering and desecration of the human body caused by its explosion.

The military noted that aside from using and stockpiling the banned anti-personnel mines, the communist terrorist group has been abandoning explosives they laid hidden on trail, posing great risks to civilians.

In 2021 alone, government troops have safely recovered 96 pieces of abandoned anti-personnel mines in different parts of Eastern Visayas.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

In July last year, the NDF has also been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Council. (PNA)