When it rains terror


Residents of Sitio Damugnay, Los Angeles, Butuan City were filled with terror last November 3 when Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) helicopters relentlessly bombed their community.

A video recorded by a resident shows how residents were enveloped by fear and panic. The sound of loud explosions and machinegun fire can be heard, followed by screams and cries. Towards the video’s end, people are seen leaving their homes.

Ka Diwa Habagat of the New People’s Army (NPA)-Agusan del Norte attested to the experience of residents. She said that at around 1:45 p.m., not less than four large bombs were dropped by Black Hawk helicopters, as it spewed hundreds of .50 caliber bullets over the fields and farms.

The Butuan City incident is the third incident of bombing in Mindanao in a span of only five days. On October 30, Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon was bombed and strafed from 12:40 a.m. to past 2 a.m. At least six large bombs and dozens of rockets were fired by the AFP during that incident.

The same place was bombed on November 2 at 9 p.m. At least three tons of bombs were dropped by four OV-10 bomber planes. These include four each of 250-lb and 500-lb bombs. The excessive explosives shook the ground and razed a large section of the mountains. This was condemned even by scientists who said that the burning of a large part of the forests add to the warming of the atmosphere.

In the span of 12 weeks since the middle of August to the first week of November, six similar aerial strikes were recorded. This is equivalent to one bombing operation every two weeks. Two incidents were recorded in Eastern Visayas and one in Cagayan Valley.

Not less than two civilians were reported to have died as a result of the bombings, while others were wounded. Ruben Darasin, a resident of Barangay Balang-balang in Remedios T. Romualdez, died as he jumped into the river in panic after the bombing in Sitio Damugnay. People working in their farms suffered injuries as they scampered for safety as bombs were dropped nearby.

In Bobon, Northern Samar, a pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage and died after she was stricken by fear by the the bombing and shelling. The military fired two 105mm artillery shells and at least 11 rockets in the said area from 3 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Five peasants suffered injuries in separate incidents of strafing by the 20th IB and police in Barangay Epaw, Las Navas last October 14 and in Barangay San Vicente, Catubig in Samar the following day. Two of the victims were wounded and one was illegally arrested.

Hundreds were also engulfed in fear due to the bombings. In the Butuan City incident, residents of four other barangays were afraid of getting hit by the bombs. In various video recordings of the Dumalaguing bombing, residents expressed fears of their families being put in danger.

Because of the terroristic effect of the bombing, the military concocts lies to make it acceptable to the public. It claims that the dropping of 500-lb (230 kilogram) bombs are “surgical strikes” when, in fact, these damages areas up to 90-183 meter from the center, or even wider if one considers the damage caused by bomb shrapnels.

On November 5, an additional six Black Hawk helicopters were reported to have arrived in Mindanao, which would bring more terror to communities and farms. However, NPA-Agusan del Sur said the people must expose the terror in order to transform their fear to collective courage.

When it rains terror