“We condemn the horrible aerial bombardment of four barangays in Gonzaga, Cagayan province in January 29, 2022, by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as a violation of international humanitarian law. We call for an immediate thorough independent investigation and the immediate access of humanitarian relief to the area,” said Peter Murphy, Chairperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.
According to an eye witness, two FA fighter jets dropped not less than 30 bombs in four waves, at 4:30am, 5am, 9:40 am and 12 noon in the Municipality of Gonzaga that has a population of 41,680 people in 25 barangays. Along with this, there were three helicopters that carried out indiscriminate aerial straffing with 50 calibre machine guns. Four barangays were struck heavily – Sitio Bagsang, Brgy Clara, Brgy Sta. Isabel, Brgy Sta Teresita and Brgy Magrafil. Gonzaga is one of the towns in Cagayan Province, in the Cagayan Valley Region, north-east of Luzon.
“The 5th Infantry Division had already claimed to have wiped out the New People’s Army in the area and there have been no reports of NPA operations in the area in the most recent months. This is a case of indiscriminate military attack on a civilian population,” said Peter Murphy. “The population of farmers and indigenous people have been subjected to ‘red tagging’ and forced/fake surrender of alleged NPA fighters, which are notorious forms of political repression in the Philippines.”
Gonzaga is part of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and is being developed as part of an ecotourism belt. This includes road widening, building hotels and expansion of the airport.
For comment: Peter Murphy, Chairperson, ICHRP Global Council +61 418 312 301 [email protected]