DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 May) – The National Democratic Front-Southern Mindanao Region has apologized to the family of a civilian who was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) during an attack on Saturday by the New People’s Army (NPA) on plants owned by Lapanday Foods Corporation in Barangay Mandug.
Larry Buenafe, a fish vendor, was seriously wounded when the rebels detonated the IED on soldiers from Task Force Davao who responded to the attack.
The rebels also offered to give indemnification to Buenafe.
In a statement, NDFP-SMR spokesperson Rubi del Mundo requested third party facilitators like church people, medical practitioners and civil libertarians to facilitate the indemnification.
Citing a report of the the NPA’s 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion, del Mundo said that the rebels carried out the IED attacks against the soldiers in Barangay Tigatto after the NPA unit attacked the LFC box and plastic plants in nearby Barangay Mandug.
“The blaster-operator saw that Mr. Buenafe was far from the target military vehicle and proceeded to detonate the explosives. The shock waves and splinter, however, hit and injured him,” she said.
She said the NDFP-SMR’s order of indemnification was “a unilateral exercise of revolutionary political authority by the People’s Democratic Government that has its own legal and judicial system and rules in accordance with its political principles and circumstances.”
She added the order of indemnification was also in compliance with the Geneva Conventions, the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, among other codes of conduct by the armed movement.
She maintained the movement ha absolute respect for “human rights and international humanitarian law.”
“It is waging a just war for the genuine emancipation of the majority exploited Filipino people. The punitive action by the NPA-Southern Mindanao against the Lorenzo-owned Lapanday Foods Corporation in Davao City is just and long-demanded by the thousands of peasants, Lumad and workers in Mindanao,” she said.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said he was dismayed by the recent NPA attacks while peace talks are “making substantial headway” but remained optimistic they “will not be deterred” despite calls to drop [the talks] and wage an all-out war.
The NPA attacked three businesses run by the Lorenzo family in the city on April 30, leaving Buenafe and three other persons wounded, Lapanday security guard Reynaldo Talamaque and two NPA fighters.
Two NPA members were killed in the attack.
Although there is no bilateral ceasefire yet, Dureza said the attacks made the public question the sincerity of those with whom they are dealing with across the table and doubted their capacity to manage and control their forces on the ground.
He said there have been calls to scrap the peace negotiations and pursue an all-out military offensive against the NPA rebels, a track pursued by previous governments since the group’s founding in 1969.
While the secretary believes the government forces “can deal with these contingencies” with the support of the civilian communities, he maintained that as negotiators, their task is to pursue the talks.
“Our expectation is that our unrelenting efforts in addressing the issues, bridging the ideological divide and finding a common ground may eventually pay off and bring about just, sustainable and enduring peace in the land,” he said.
He reiterated the task is not easy but assured they will continue.
“We will not yield in our resolve. We will not be deterred,” he said.
Labor Secretary and government chief peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III said they are now preparing for the fifth round of talks scheduled for May 27 to June 1 in the Netherlands.
He said the bilateral teams of the government (GRP) and NDF are working to “arrive at a consensus” on contentious provisions of the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and bilateral ceasefire.
He said their respective committees exchanged drafts and held informal bilateral meetings in the country to discuss the contentious provisions as pointed out during the fourth formal GRP-NDF last April 3 to 7 in the Netherlands.
“Ang report sa akin ni (The report to me by) Nani Braganza, who is chairman of the committee on CASER, mukhang magkakasundo na sila (It seems they are agreeing) and they will submit it to the panel for final approval maybe by May 27 to June 1,” Bello said.
He said draft CASER will be presented in the fifth round of talks in Noorwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands on May 26 to June 2, 2017. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)