TACLOBAN CITY, April 6 (PNA) — The Philippine Army has condemned the killing of a two-year-old girl who was accidentally shot by communist rebels chasing a former militia member in a remote village of Matuguinao, Samar province on Friday morning.
Lt. Col. Seigfred Tubalado, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 43 infantry battalion, said that six armed rebels led by Gilbert Erasga were hunting down former militia member Jovic Dela Cruz Obiado and chanced upon him resting in a waiting shed near the house of the girl’s parents in Mahanud village.
Obiado saw the gunmen who pursued him and fired their rifles with automatic shots, killing Disley Arandia who was sleeping inside their house.
The girl’s mother, Perlita, screamed after seeing Disley profusely bleeding from the shots. The NPA members stopped chasing Obiado and escaped.
“We condole with the family of the child. This is one of the most barbaric attacks of the NPA rebels not even sparing children,” Tubalado said.
He said indiscriminate firing on innocent civilians and the killing of a child is a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIL), which the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) is one of the signatories.
“The barbaric act is a clear violation of human rights and with this act, NPAs can be classified as plain terrorist plaguing peaceful communities,” Tubalado said.
“This is not fighting for a cause. This is a disservice to the community they claim to represent,” he added.
The army and local police launched a hot pursuit against the perpetrators.
Last year, people in remote villages of the town had to flee their homes in the wake of armed clashes between government forces and NPA rebels.
The NPA – the armed wing of the CPP – has been fighting the government since the late 1960s. Remote villages in Samar Island are considered as among the hotbed in the NPA armed struggle. (PNA)
LAM/SQM/JAZMIN BONIFACIO AND LIZBETH ANN A. ABELLA