The recent casualties of the 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Paquibato District, Davao City indicate that guerrilla territories of the New People’s Army (NPA) are indeed high-risk areas for the army’s operating units, particularly its Task Force Davao (TFD) and Cafgu.
When the troops, equipments, and facilities of the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) located in municipal, provincial, and city centers can be hit, and in fact, have been hit by NPA tactical offensives, more so when the enemy combat troops foray deep inside guerrilla territory. Certainly, the risk for the enemy rises as they enter a wide, rugged, and unfamiliar terrain favorable to guerrilla warfare and confronted by masses of people that stand up against human rights abuses, economic exploitation and political oppression which the AFP very clearly represent. And where the people’s army is determined in fulfilling its fighting tasks against a ruling system already rotten to the core, M/Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu and Col. Oscar Lactao will end up the same as those that have come and gone before them, mission-wise — failed and frustrated.
A tactical offensive against armed regular troops — riding a military vehicle — of an AFP combat unit deployed in the area to continue the implementation of the Oplan Bantay Laya mission of the much-despised 3rd Special Forces Battalion is, no doubt, a legitimate military operation.
The NPA’s use of command-detonated explosives during ambushes does not violate the Mine Ban Treaty/Ottawa Treaty as these are not the pressure-detonated type of mines that do not discriminate between military targets and civilians. What brazenly constitute an indisputable violation of human rights and international humanitarian law is the Arroyo regime’s policy of extra-judicial killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, and torture that has given it international notoriety.
1st Pulang Bagani Company
Merardo Arce Command
Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
New People’s Army