Overkill, overspending: AFP dropped around 2 tons of bombs in Dolores, Eastern Samar

Read in: Pilipino

On August 16, against what it estimated to be a 50-man unit of the New People’s Army, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) mounted an overly brutal aerial bombardment campaign, squandering billions of pesos to satisfy the Duterte regime’s insatiable desire to kill, kill, kill. At least 19 personnel were killed in the aerial bombing.

Based on reports we have received from Eastern Samar, the AFP dropped up to a total of 4,000 pounds (around 1.8 metric tons) of bombs starting at 4 a.m. in the form of no less than eight 500 pound bombs. The bombs were dropped using two FA-50 jet fighters and A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircrafts.

Starting at 8 a.m., two attack helicopters (Agusta-Westland) and two cargo helicopters (machine-gun mounted Sikorsky helicopters) airlifted ground troops, fired rocket missiles and strafed the area until the afternoon.

According to estimates of the NPA command in the area, the AFP also used aircraft mounted Gattling-style canons to fire large volumes of high-caliber rounds.

At least seven surveillance drones were deployed including a Hermes-900 which preceded the aerial bombardment and flew in the area for several hours after the first bombs were dropped. The AFP also indiscriminately fired artillerly shells all through the afternoon with no clear target.

The wanton aerial bombardment, strafing, use of anti-tank weapons and artillery shelling by the AFP violates the rules of proportionality and necessity under international humanitarian law. The use of bombs and anti-tank weapons against guerrilla fighters who were asleep and armed only with rifles and less powerful weapons, and against medics and unarmed personnel who were in the camp, are superfluous and a disproportionate use of force.

Heavy aerial bombardment also causes widespread destruction of forest and water resources which are sources of livelihood of the masses. These also cause widespread trauma among the local residents.

Moreover, it is morally detestable for the US-Duterte regime to be spending billions upon billions of pesos for counterinsurgency warfare amid the pandemic where rising cases are stretching the capacity of hospitals and millions suffer from unemployment, loss of income and hunger.

Overkill, overspending: AFP dropped around 2 tons of bombs in Dolores, Eastern Samar