By Aaron Recuenco
Police have filed a string of criminal charges against at least 10 local communist rebels operating in Iloilo following the recovery of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which authorities said have a kill radius of 15 to 20 meters and similar to the ones being used in roadside bombing on soldiers and policemen.
Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, director of the Western Visayas regional police, said the charges stemmed from a military operation on March 17 in Barangay Maulangan in Igbaras, Iloilo wherein nine IEDs were seized.
Among those arrested during the operation, he said, were Roberto Ilamparo, Ruperto Enar and Ramon Enar.
Bulalacao said the three were among those charged with Illegal Possession and manufacture of firearms and explosive devices, multiple attempted murder and direct assault.
Also charged were Joven Ceralvo, the platoon leader of Suyak Platoon; Jonathan Emolaga, Nahum Raymar Camariosa, Jenalyn Silverio and three others.
The local communist rebels, however, denied the report of the encounter and stressed that those arrested were mere farmers.
But Bulalacao said the denial of the NPA is an attempt to mislead the public and portray that they are not using IEDs which is banned by international bodies and protocols.
“This denial is just part of their propaganda to cover their human rights violations. Many civilians, not only government troops, were killed and wounded by these landmines in the past,” said Bulalacao.
“As an effect, the government forces never produced anti-personnel mines. However, the NPA still use landmines as means of attacking government forces and victimizing innocent civilians for over 40 years,” he added.
Based on the tactical evaluation by local bomb experts, Bulalacao said the recovered improvised explosives are similar to that used in the recent bombing incidents perpetrated by the communist rebels.
“These types are ‘Anti-vehicle IEDs’ usually employed by NPAs. There are some improvements, but technically it’s almost the same. The recovered IEDs have that certain ‘trademark’ of the NPAs which was used in many landmine attacks in Western Visayas,” said Bulalacao.