The recent spate of aerial bombing incidents by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Northern Mindanao and Northern Luzon were met with calls for impartial investigations on the intensifying human rights violations that have resulted in the displacement of indigenous communities.

Windel Bolinget of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) said the aerial bombing in the Cordillera region, which happened last 9 March, constitute violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, directly affecting more than 60 families. 

“The gunfire and bombings are too close to the civilians and residents. The International Humanitarian Law that guarantees the safety and security of civilians must be ensured,” said Bolinget. 

Bolinget is part of a delegation of advocates who trooped to Manila to shed light on the human rights situation in affected communities and called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the House of Representatives to conduct investigations.

Last year, the Department of Energy approved five dam projects that will affect the municipalities of Balbalan and Pinukpuk, which the residents strongly oppose. According to Bolinget, the attacks aim to sow fear in the communities who reject the impending dam construction projects and the entry of mining firms.

Meanwhile, solidarity group Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle (FFPS) denounced the series of aerial bombings in Malabalay City, Bukidnon between 13-16 March. According to reports, the bombings were followed by repeated strafing operations.

“The supposed aim of the systematic bombings is to destroy the NPA, but all these false ‘counter-insurgency’ attacks amount to nothing more than a war on the people,” the FFPS said in a statement as it launched its global campaign against aerial bombings.

“History has proven that as long as the root causes of the problems of the Filipino people are not addressed, all forms of resistance will continue until a just and lasting peace is achieved through national and social liberation,” FFPS ended.