Hundreds of civilians affected as AFP military ops in Batangas continue

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Youth Advocates for Peace with Justice (YAPJUST-UPLB) and KARAPATAN – Southern Tagalog along with different progressive organizations condemn the continuous aerial bombings and ground operations in Batangas City-Lobo area since Sunday.

Based from initial reports of the fact-finding mission led by KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog, a combined 137 families from Brgy. Cumba and Talahib Pandayan were forced to evacuate. Classes were also suspended in at least 15 schools in the said barangays and nearby areas. This came after the alleged encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. At 10am today, fact-finding team reported 2 choppers circling around Mt. Banoi.

“Use of excessive force such as aerial bombings seem to be the norm for AFP troops whenever there are conflicts. Thus, civilians are not spared,” said Pastor Edwin Egar of KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog.

Youth Advocates for Peace with Justice – UPLB headed the protest action at the University of the Philippines Los Banos while KARAPATAN – Southern Tagalog trooped to Department of National Defense to decry military operations and the clear violation of Comprehensive Agreement on Respect on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL).

At 1pm, KARAPATAN – Southern Tagalog and other sectoral, provincial organizations went to Commission on Human Rights to file a formal complaint against the state forces.

Currently, AFP and PNP operatives continue to prevent and harass fact-finding teams. The said fact-finding teams aim to assist civilians and further investigate the situation.

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