The 403rd Infantry Brigade condemns the NPA and its leadership for spreading lies and lame words in its bid to correct its lawlessness and banditry when it staged an ambush against personnel of Amai Manabilang Municipal Police station on November 9, 2017, around 5:30 pm, that resulted to the murder of one PNP personnel and a four-month old baby, Walysha Machorao, while wounding three PNP personnel and three civilians.
The lies that are being spread by a certain Malem Mabini (a fake name used by a person who obviously does not have the decency and the guts to make himself accountable for his statements) start with making people believe that their group flagged down two civilian vehicles tailing the PNP patrol car so that the civilians onboard would "evade from being injured" from the crime that they were about to commit. Unfortunately, there were no such two vehicles. There was only the Toyota Fortuner which was tailing the PNP patrol car. Most importantly, said civilian vehicle was not flagged down nor stopped by the so-called "NPA Blocking Force". Otherwise, the driver would have stopped the vehicle in fear upon seeing unidentified armed men flagging their vehicle down in an isolated part of that Cagayan de Oro-Dominorog-Kalilangan road.
The NPA's statement further pointed out that the incident was "a painful occurrence which was unforeseen". It was indeed painful for nothing would ever be agonizing than to lose a life of an innocent child, an infant, in the hands of rabid rascals who cannot contain their itch for fire their weapons at even the innocent civilians. What is even more painful is losing a life of an innocent child during a time when we are commemorating the National Children's Month. On point, it was never an unforeseen occurrence and much that it would never have happened if only the NPA quenched its thirst for banditry by sparing civilian vehicles from indiscriminate fires. Admittedly, the NPA said that whether they like it or not, the process of continuing their ill-motivated armed struggle, which they are hallucinating to be a civil war, entails unavoidable circumstances such as the death of baby Walysha. It is, in every way, admitting that killing of civilians and making them objects of attack will continue as long as they exist. The 403rd Infantry Brigade, in all its capacity, will not allow this to happen.
Meanwhile, in order to cover their grave mistake, the NPA compared their human rights violations to the heroic acts of our soldiers in Marawi City, limiting the latter to "airstrikes, bombings, and indiscriminate firing of innocent civilians". The NPA is clearly at a loss as it tried to discredit the actions of the AFP in the liberation of Marawi City from the hands of terrorists, which the Filipino people have overwhelmingly supported. It continued in its attempt to downplay the incident by saying that "the military and the police overemphasize the said ambush as barbarous". Once again, just to emphasize, it was indeed barbarous and inhumane. In fact, there are no other words that could best describe the death of an innocent child in the hands of oblivious armed bandits than barbaric. The NPA even brag that their ambush was "successful" despite the tragic loss of innocent lives.
The NPA also claimed that it "adherently abide by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law" or CARHRIHL. CARHRIHL is an agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to uphold and respect Human Rights and protect civilians and non-combatants from armed engagements between the AFP and the NPA. In this agreement, Part 3, Article 2, Paragraph 15 prohibits the use of landmine. Also in this agreement, Part 4, Article 4, Paragraph 4, provides that Civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and,together with their property, shall not be the object of attack. Unfortunately, the NPA has repeatedly violated these provisions by subjecting civilians and their properties to attacks. Just to name a few, below are the violations committed by the NPA:
1. Burning of three boom harvesters and one skidder owned by the Del Monte Philippines Incorporated in Brgy. Patpat, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on March 20, 2017;
2. Raid of / forcible entry at Maharlika Vic Lao Farm and stealing of two shotguns owned by security personnel and more or less 120 pecking ducks in Purok 4, Brgy. Tawas, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on June 29, 2017;
3. Burning of DOLE Palletizing Plant and indiscriminate firing in Sitio Gabunan, Brgy. Casisang, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on September 6, 2017;
4. Raid of / forcible entry at SUMIFRO Repolidon Compound in Brgy. Tugaya, Valencia City, Bukidnon on September 9, 2017;
5. Murder of Barangay Councilor Romeo Bantilan, Jr. at his residence in Brgy. White Kulaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on October 8, 2017;
6. Attack of DAVCO Compound and burning of several equipment in Sitio Rang-ay, Brgy. Merangeran, Quezon, Bukidnon on October 8, 2017;
7. Burning of DOLE Portable Banana Processor in Sitio Sta. Cruz, Brgy. Casisang, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on November 3, 2017; and
8. Killing of Walysha Machorao, 4-month old baby, and wounding of three civilians during an ambush in KM 28, Brgy. Ticalaan, Talakag, Bukidnon on November 9, 2017.
The NPA's fallacious statements, their attempt to indemnify the victims of their banditry, and their appeal for forgiveness only add insult to injury. Unless justice is brought upon the perpetrators, the 403rd Infantry Brigade will not cease from going after these bandits. More so, it will continue to perform its mandate of protecting our people and securing the communities within its area. Finally, to all those who continue to support the NPA, you have blood in your hands.