The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women vehemently condemns the recent series of airstrikes in Cagayan and Northern Samar. We reiterate the call to end the militarization of rural communities, especially after military bombings and aerial shellings of various peasant communities have resulted in the destruction of land and livelihood, and uprooted the lives of severely traumatized residents.
“We urge House of Representatives’ Committee on Human Rights and the Commission on Human Rights to conduct an immediate investigation into the bombings that have led to destruction in far too many peasant communities,” said Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano.
“This is clearly a war crime by the Duterte regime targeting civilian population prohibited under the International Humanitarian Law.”
According to Northern Samar Small Farmers Association, on September 17, air assets of the 803rd Infantry Brigade and 43rd Infantry Battalion dropped 3 bombs in the hinterlands of Barangay E. Duran, Bobon, Northern Samar. After the bombing, the Philippine Army proceeded with indiscriminate aerial shelling for half an hour. Aside from the aerial assaults, residents were prohibited from farming activity for three months due to instructions from Brig. Gen. Lowell Tan, the 803rd Brigade’s commanding officer. The prohibition, coupled with the trauma from bombings in the vicinity, caused more than 2,000 civilians to evacuate to Bonbon’s town proper. There have also been reports of manhandling and physical assault of civilians in the barangay.
Data from Taripnong Cagayan Valley posted on their facebook account stated that on September 21, the residents of Sta. Teresita, Buguey, Gonzaga, and Sta. Ana were awoken by the air strikes of the Philippine Army, as well as military operations of the 501st Infantry Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division in Barangay Dungeg. The air strike damaged the land and crops planted by residents, severely affecting their livelihood.
“Military presence has disrupted lives and livelihoods through intimidation and harassment of residents, and the destruction of agricultural land. The bombings come right before October harvest season, and will only result in even worse hunger and poverty for already struggling Filipinos. We reiterate our call for #StopMilitarizationNow, pull out military presence in the peasant communities and hold Duterte accountable for his war crime,” Soriano ended. ###