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Army scoffs at NDF move to 'indemnify' Davao blast victims
The online news portal of TV5

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Philippine Army's Fourth Infantry “Diamond” Division (4ID) based here slammed the move of the National Democratic Front-Southern Mindanao Region (NDF-SMR) to indemnify the victims of the grenade blast in Paquibato District, Davao City, saying the dissidents do not have “belligerency status” to do so. The rebels should just surrender the victims, the Army said.

In a phone interview, Saturday, 4ID spokesperson Ltc. Eugenio Julio Osias IV said the rebel group should instead surrender the combatants responsible for the incident, or “at least inform the general public what punitive actions they have imposed against their member.”

“They do not have belligerency status. Even the US (United States of America) and EU (European Union) have declared them as (an) international terrorist organization. We are just negotiating with the NDF,” said Osias.

After claiming responsibility over the grenade blast in Barangay Fatima, Paquibato District, Davao City last September 1, the NDF-SMR—in an emailed statement on Friday—ordered the indemnification of the 41 victims, who were watching a circus show in a covered court when the grenade exploded.

In NDF-SMR's list, 14 of the 41 victims were minors with a two-year old girl as the youngest victim. According to Rubi del Mundo, spokesperson of NDF-SMR, the indemnification order is based on a directive from the NDF-SMR.

“The directive is a unilateral exercise of revolutionary political authority by a government of the working class and peasantry that has its own legal and judicial system and rules in accordance with its political principles and circumstances,” the statement read.

According to del Mundo the indemnification order is in compliance, among others, with the NDF's Declaration of Undertaking to Apply Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocol I of 1977 “which asserts its status as co-belligerent under international law and assumes its rights and responsibilities under the Geneva Conventions and its protocols.”

“Notwithstanding the Declaration, the revolutionary forces and people represented by the NDF have acquired over the years the status of belligerency through revolutionary armed struggle. The declaration itself commits the revolutionary forces to the observance of laws of war, from the level of adherence to Protocol II in 1991 to the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I,” said del Mundo.

He added that they have talked with professionals and peace advocates to serve as Third Party Facilitators for the expedient payment to the victims. He said the Third Party Facilitators will award the indemnification to the following victims:

1. Necio Cerundo, 21, male

2. Amalou Cabandia, 13, female

3. Marcelo Babor, 52, male

4. Nelojean Roxas, 11, female

5. Jelson Bacordo, 22, male

6. Lemuel Uzon, 15, male

7. Elizer Sumod Ong, 29, male

8. Jessie Solla, 49, male

9. Candida Sambalod, 53, female

10. Jayson Amaralinto, 15, male

11. Rubilyn Abayto, 34, female

12. Michael Tinaja, 15, male

13. John Mark Moquinto, 15, male

14. Rolando Abatayo, 32, male

15. Randy Loyola, 35, male

16. Rio Brigole, 24, male

17. Marvin Polinar, 20, male

18. Jeresa Malinao, 19, female

19. Primitiva Dadula, 65, female

20. Lindo Linda, 18, male

21. Louie John Ballena, 14, male

22. Noe Pulbera, 52, male

23. Dario Segundo, 33, male

24. Rolando Roperos,47, male

25. Gerald Zamora, 18, male

26. Juris Bontoyan, 2, female

27. Devine Grace Valejo, 16, female

28. John Miguel Lucian, 23, male

29. Genelyn Cambirahan, 31, female

30. Charmaine Lansang, 13, female

31. Marjorie Escultor, 34, female

32. Ruthchelle Bontoyan,39, female

33. Rudith Montajes, 20, female

34. Gemar Bacordo, 24, male

35. Regine Lansang, 17, female

36. Rolando Palban, 18, male

37. Marvin Sumod Ong, 53, male

38. Samson Tandoy, 18, male

39. Helena Turado, 54, female

40. Mikael Cambarehan, 4, male

41, Gerald Lariosa, 16, male

Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has even called the perpetrators “bobo” (idiots) in live TV interviews.

“Indemnifying the victims and their families is not enough. They should surrender the perpetrators to our justice system if they are really sincere in what they are doing. If they will not do this then they can do the same thing in the future and get away from their criminal liabilities, again and again,” Osias said.

The 4ID spokesperson also wondered if the Maoist rebels are really serious in adhering to the Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and the International Humanitarial Law (CARHRIHL). It is an agreement signed by both the NDF and the Philippine Government on March 16, 1998 at The Hague, The Netherlands.

“If they are really observing the CARHRIHL, so why do they attack civilians, even destroy equipment and other properties that are not used in combat? They keep on blabbering about respect for Human Rights but they continuously violate its provisions. Most importantly, NPAs should spare civilians from any of their criminal activities and atrocities,” said Osias.