Tago, Surigao del Sur, March 20 2020 – The Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) took advantage of the ceasefire declaration, slay two civiliansat San Miguel town, this province yesterday March 19, 2020 at around 7 o’clock in the evening.

The two civilians were identified as Zaldy Ibanez, 52 yrs old, Manobo, married and Datu Bernardino Austidillo,73 yrs old, Manobo, a tribal leader both residents of Sitio Inadan, Brgy Magroyong, San Miguel, SDS. The said victims were murderedby more or less 15 CNTs believed to be member of the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda 1(SYP-1) of the Weakened GuerillaFront 30 (WGF30) of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) under Joel Mahinay @Nicko.

Based on the revelation of some witness in the said community, the victims were stabbed using machete/bolo (Sundang) that cause their instantaneous death. They were killed in front of their respective families who are begging and pleading to the Communist NPA Terrorist. Accordingly, Zaldy Ibanez is a former rebel who surrendered to the PNP and return to the folds of the law last November 9, 2019. While, Datu Bernardino Austidillo is the tribal leader of the said village.

It can be noted that the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared unilateral ceasefire against the CPP-NPA terrorist last March 19, 2020 and it will last to April 15  because of the pandemic disease COVID-19 which the Philippine Government are utmost priority as of now. The President also appeal to the communist NPA terrorist to take part and to cooperate with the government as the country deals with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

It is very cleared that the communist NPA Terrorist are capitalizing onthe declaration of ceasefire of the government. They used the ceasefire declaration to advance their armed struggle and took advantage of the suspension of military and police operation and target vulnerable civilians and IP leaders who are supported to their cause.

This is also a clear violation of the international humanitarian law and the rule of law. The killing of two civilians by the CNTs is a crime against our laws and an outright violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) under Republic Act 9851.

In his statement, Lt Col Jezreel Diagmel, Acting Commanding Officer of 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion said.

“We strongly condemned this barbaric act of the CNTs as they continue to destroy innocent civilians and indigenous people lives. We offer our sincerest condolences to the bereaved families,” Lt Col Diagmel said. “I call on the human rights advocate to investigate on this matter and give justice to the families of the victim. To the remaining CNTs stop the killing of innocent civilians and IP leaders. Abandon your futile armed struggle, surrender now and live a normal lives with your families.” LTC Diagmel ended. (CPT Jonald D Romorosa, CMO, Officer, 36IB)