Vol. VI, No. 4 - February 29, 2024

Consecutive cases of civilian killings and bombings by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were recorded in Bohol, Cagayan Valley, Masbate, Negros Occidental and Panay Island over the past few weeks. Under the leadership of their commander-in-chief Marcos Jr, the AFP is on a literal ‘killing spree’ as they violate international rules of war one after another.

In Panay Island last February 28, the AFP’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID) carried out an aerial bombing campaign along barangays Torocadan, Dongoc and Langca in San Joaquin town, Iloilo. The bombing started at two in the morning and was augmented with strafing and rocket-firing from helicopters, and artillery shelling using truck-mounted howitzers, lasting several hours. The aerial bombing and artillery shelling caused deep fright and trauma among the children, women, and elderly people. There are reports that people in the communities are being rounded up and prevented from working in their fields.

In Bohol last February 23, police officers raided the home of a certain “Berting” in Barangay Campagao, Bilar, Bohol. Witnesses saw Berting and his two minor children (one of whome is four years old) being manhandled in an effort to force them into revealing the location of Ka Silong (Domingo Compoc) and his companions. Berting and his two minor children were later forced into a white van, which left moments later. That was the last that Berting and family were seen by their neighbors. Their location is still unknown as of writing.

The abduction of Berting and his children was followed by the murder of five Red fighters by combined elements of the 47th Infantry Battalion (IB) and local police forces. Domingo Compoc, Hannah Cesista, Parlito Historia, Marlon Omosura and Alberto Sancho were captured alive in Barangay Campagao on February 23. Contrary to international rules of war, the five were tortured and deliberately killed after.

In Escalante City, Negros Occidental on February 22, more than 10 bombs were dropped by the 79th IB followed by machine gun strafing purportedly at ‘more than five members’ of the New People’s Army (NPA). The NPA however denies the claim saying it was another one of fake encounter reports to justify the AFP’s bloodlust at the expense of communities affected by indiscriminate attacks.

In Masbate last February 5, two elderly spouses Pedro Regala (78 years old) and Florencia Regala (67 years old) were killed by the 2nd IB in Barangay Toboran, Cawayan. The AFP once again replayed their tired old arguments claiming the two elderly couple were members of the NPA. Vulnerable groups including the elderly are afforded special protections under international humanitarian law during armed conflicts.

These cases constitute part of a greater number of atrocities under the Marcos regime all of which are tantamount to grave violations of international rules of war. All above-mentioned incidents are in contravention to the Geneva Conventions and its additional protocols that protect the rights of the people in times of war, both for combatants but most importantly for civilians. These are also violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).