The Armed Forces of the Philippines Human Rights Office (AFPHRO) condemned the recent attack by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) on non-combatants and non-military targets in Surigao del Norte.
Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, chief of the AFPHRO, said the attack on the house of the local mayor of Sison, Surigao del Norte, violated international humanitarian law (IHL).
Reports show that around 10 NPA rebels believed to be members of SYP16B, Guerilla Front 16, fired upon the residence of Municipal Mayor Karissa Fetalvero in San Pedro, after attacking the Municipal Police Station on Thursday morning, 28 January 2021.
The incident happened around 8:30 a.m., while pension was being released to senior citizens at the Women’s Center just in front of the station, according to a report from the local police.
The NPA rebels opened fire on the police station and engaged lawmen in a 15-minute gun battle before withdrawing, said Maj. Dorothy Tumulak, regional police spokesperson.
Shortly thereafter, the rebels went to Fetalvero’s residence where they fired shots.
Fortunately, no one was hurt or killed in the attack.
“We call upon all citizens to denounce the CPP-NPA atrocities. We assure the public that your Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to safeguard and fulfill your human rights,” Nacnac said.
Nacnac explained that the atrocities done by the communist rebels violate the principle of distinction under the laws of armed conflict/international humanitarian law.
The principle enunciates that civilians and civilian objects or structures should be spared and not subjected of attack, because only combatants or military objectives can be targeted in an armed conflict.
In a related development, the Supreme Court (SC) has issued the guidelines for the 2 February 2021 Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act oral arguments on the consolidated cases.
The oral arguments will commence at 2:30 p.m. wherein non-employees of the SC I are to present a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test result taken within seventy-two hours prior to the oral arguments in order to enter the premises.
Non-compliance will be refused entry inside the SC and there will be no exceptions.
The wearing of appropriate facemasks (surgical mask, N95, KN95) and face shields (clear, non-tinted) and practicing social distancing is a must inside the SC.
Taking footages of the live feed at the media’s viewing area is allowed but it cannot be streamed live but can use the recordings for broadcast later in the day.
Mediamen who wish to cover the event remotely, the SC PIO will be audio streaming live the Oral Arguments via the SC PIO’s Youtube channel.
“Kindly visit the microsite https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/oralarguments/anti-terrorism-act/ for more details about the proceedings of the Oral Arguments. Thank you very much for your kind cooperation.”