Skip to main content

Farmer stumbles across mass grave in Philippines

A Philippine farmer unearthed a mass grave with the skeletal remains of up to 30 people believed to be victims of an internal purge by communist rebels in the 1980s, the army said on Sunday.

Rommel Malinao was ploughing his field in a remote village in Quezon province, south of Manila, when he made the discovery on Saturday, army spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc said.

The army deployed a team to cordon off the site and with the help of police forensics experts exhumed the skeletons.

"As of last count, there were about 30 human skeletons," Cabunoc told AFP.

"We believe these were victims of the New People's Army (NPA) 'kangaroo courts', which sentenced to death many members they had suspected as government intelligence agents."

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a Maoist rebellion since 1969 -- one of the longest-running communist insurgencies in Asia.

At its peak in the 1980s, NPA numbers were believed to have reached 26,000, but that is now down to only 4,000 fighters due to losses on the battle field.

The government alleges that in the mid-1980s, the NPA set up so-called 'kangaroo courts', which condemned to death hundreds believed to have become agents for the state.

Their bodies were believed to have been dumped in secret mass graves.

Various mass graves have been unearthed by the military since 2009, but Saturday's find was believed to contain the biggest number of skeletons so far, Cabunoc said.

Cabunoc added that villagers interviewed by the army near the site said many of their relatives whom they had suspected of joining the NPA went missing in the 1980s and had not been heard of since.

Some of the skeletons showed the hallmarks of torture, although further verification was needed, he said.

President Benigno Aquino re-opened peace talks with the communists in February last year but the negotiations have been delayed by the rebels' demand to release detained comrades.

It was not immediately clear how the discovery of the latest mass grave could affect the talks.

Agence France-Presse/Yahoo News Online  | July 23, 2012 | Article Link


More Philippine Defense News

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

No reduction in AFP manpower size

THERE will be no reduction in the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it implements the streamlining of commands by 2013, a senior officer told the Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“Under the Force Structure Review, there will be streamlining of units but this does not mean reduction in terms of the number of soldiers. In fact, the FSR calls for more recruits in the future,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.
At present, the military has a total of 125,000 soldiers, of which almost 85,000 are in the Army and the rest in the Navy-Marines and Air Force.
The FSR calls for an in-depth study of the AFP history in reference to pertinent laws of the land in conjunction with the challenges of internal and external defense.
The study also calls for the establishment of a strategic command that will focus on external defense where the main force would be the Air Force and Navy.
On instructions of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former military ch…

Philippine Armored Vehicles with ad-hoc wood slat armor

While searching for Philippine armored vehicles for the updates being done for both the blog and the Facebook page I chanced upon images of Philippine Army and Marine armor assets covered with thick wood planks as slat armor for protection from rocket propelled grenades. This caught the eyes of Popular Mechanics who published an article last June 8th just for this subject.

According to the article,
Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets. Not sure, I'll leave that to the actual reports from the Philippine Military in using wood as an ad hoc protection for rpg's, but yes this is only during emergencies. The Philippine Army and Philippine Marines should employ or use the real add-on armors currently in the market for armored vehicle protection. Or they could just simply buy new thicker-armored vehicles to be used for front-line operations and have the old vehicles to be used in secondary missions or as support vehicles.

Nonetheless the fast-thinkin…