NPA rebels murder 2 elderly tribe leaders 

March 21, 2020

TWO elderly indigenous people belonging to the Manobo tribe was brutally killed by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army Terrorists in Sitio Inadan, Barangay Magroyong, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur Thursday evening.

The Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro identified the victims as Hawudong Bernardino Astudillo, 73, tribal chieftain of Bgy. Magroyong, and  Zaldy Ibanez, 52, both  residing in Sito Inadan, Magroyong.

According to Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad, head of 4th ID Public Information Office, the two victims were forcibly taken from their homes and brought to the forest where they were stabbed to death by some 15 rebels believed to be members of Guerilla Front 30 (GF30), North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) under Joel Mahinay alias Nicko.

“Our deepest condolences go to the families of Hawudon and Ibanez. We strongly condemn the criminal act of the CNTs against the IPs. The victims were unarmed civilians and should not be considered military targets involved in conflict. 

“This is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) under RA 9851. Aggravating the circumstances, the victims were elderly people belonging to Maniebo tribe,” said Major Gen. Nemesio Gacal, commander of 4th ID.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire from March 19 to April 15, to allow the government to focus its efforts against COVIC-19 pandemic.

“The CNTs (communists’) barbaric act also shows how they are taking advantage of the ceasefire declared by President Duterte in view of the global health issues caused by civic 19. We urge everyone to be vigilant against the treacherous actions of the CNTs. Your troopers will pursue the perpetrators so that justice will be served swiftly,” Gacal said.