Manila, Philippines – The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women condemned the recent aerial bombardment of peasant communities in Miagao town, Iloilo, by units under the 3rd Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The peasant women group slammed it as a crime against humanity and violations under the International Humanitarian Law and Republic Act No. 9851, particularly indiscriminate attacks and attacking the civilian population.
“Isang malaking krimen ang pagbobomba sa komunidad ng mga magsasaka at hindi pagkilala sa karapatan ng mamamayan sa kanayunan para mamuhay nang mapayapa at walang takot. Dapat itong kundenahin at pagbayarin si Duterte at AFP sa mga kasalanan nito sa mamamayan. Maliban sa aerial bombing na ginawa nila, nakapaminsala rin sila sa mga komunidad ng Cagayan at Northern Samar nitong Setyembre lamang. Gayundin, sa mga komunidad ng Lumad at mga magsasaka sa Mindanao nitong mga nakaraang taon,” Zen Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson exclaimed.
According to a local village official, on December 1 early morning they heard huge explosions with the ground shaking after two aircrafts flew over their community. In the aftermath, the bombs left two explosion craters. One measured approximately 15 feet deep and 20 feet wide, while the other measures 3 feet deep and 10 feet wide. At least 7 were killed according to the military.
Moreover, 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 town, Northern Samar. After the bombing, the Philippine Army proceeded with indiscriminate aerial shelling for half an hour. On September 21, the residents of towns 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 airstrike damaged the land and crops planted by residents, severely affecting their livelihood.
Amihan reiterated its call to end the militarization of rural communities, especially after military bombings and aerial shellings of various peasant communities that have resulted in the mass trauma of poor peasants in the affected communities.
“We urge all freedom-loving Filipinos, women and child advocates, civil society groups, legal luminaries and netizens to support the call #StopMilitarizationNow, uphold human rights and the International Humanitarian Law, and denounce the AFP’s crimes against humanity, particularly on peasant communities. We should all hold Duterte for his crime against the Filipino people,” Soriano ended. ###