CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) brutally and inhumanely murdered two (2) elderly Indigenous Peoples belonging to Manobo tribe in Sitio Inadan, Barangay Magroyong, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur yesterday, March 19, 2020 around 7:00 o’clock in the evening.
The victims were identified as Hawudon Bernardino Astudillo, 73 years old, Manobo, currently the tribal chieftain of Brgy Magroyong and a certain Zaldy Ibaňez, 52 years old, Manobo, both residents of Sitio Inadan, Brgy Magroyong, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. Said victims were forcibly taken from their respective homes in the presence of their family members and were brought in the forested area of the barangay where they were mercilessly stabbed to death by more or less15 CNTs believed to be members of the Guerilla Front 30 (GF30), North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) under Joel Mahinay a.k.a. Nicko.
MGen Franco Nemesio M Gacal, Commander of 4ID said, “Our deepest condolences go to the families of Hawudon Astudillo and Ibaňez. We strongly condemn the criminal act of the CNTs against the IPs. The victims were unarmed civilians and should not to be considered military targets involved in conflict. This is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) under RA 9851. Aggravating to the circumstance, the victims identified were elderly people belonging to Manobo tribe.”
It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire against the CNTs from March 19 to April 15, 2020 to allow the government to focus its efforts against CoViD-19 pandemic.
“The CNT’s barbaric act also shows how they are taking advantage of the ceasefire declared by President Duterte in spite of the global health issues caused by CoViD-19. We urge everyone to be vigilant against the treacherous actions of the CNTs. Your diamond troopers will pursue the perpetrators so that justice will be served swiftly,” Gacal ended.