NEGROS – The New People’s Army (NPA) has owned up to a deadly attack on a non-military truck in La Castellana town in Negros Occidental last Sunday which killed 9 people, and apologized to the victims' kin.
In a recorded statement sent to ABS-CBN by JP Regalado, spokesperson of the Leonardo Panaligan Command of the NPA, the group said they originally planned to conduct a checkpoint in Barangay Pusok in La Castellana town with the intention of disarming alleged members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team who were carrying firearms.
However, the rebels claimed someone from the civilians in the truck fired shots at them, which forced them to return fire at the passengers of the vehicle heading towards them.
The group said it regrets that the civilians were collateral damage to what could have been a simple and quick process of disarming civilian police.
They admitted some lapses on their part in the incident that resulted to the deaths of a policeman, 3 barangay peacekeeping action team members, 2 barangay tanods and 3 civilians last January 27.
Nine other persons were also wounded.
However, the NPA insists that it was not an ambush. They said the Philippine National Police (PNP) should not have used the vehicle of the barangay.
They also admitted having violated the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
Because of this, they are willing to own up to their mistakes and will also conduct their own investigation on the incident.
The NPA also apologized to the families of the innocent civilians who died in the incident.