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Peace adviser: 2 Reds killed in AFP air strikes

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles on Tuesday confirmed there were indeed air strikes conducted by the Air Force  against enemy positions during pursuit operations in Abra but the two casualties reported by the New People’s Army were rebels and not “civilians”. “According to the Communist Party of the Philippines in the Cordillera, air strikes by the Armed Forces in Malibcong injured two teenagers. The Armed Forces has not denied that there were air strikes, but Mayor Benido Bacuyag of Malibcong has verified that there were no civilian casualties. If the NPA insists that two teenagers were injured, could it be that they were not civilians but NPA child soldiers?” Deles asked. The confirmation by Deles about the bomb sorties debunked the denial made on Monday by AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. “It’s not even a form of aerial bombardment. It is a release, it is what we call close air support against those armed men of the NPA,”  said Tatuan as quoted as saying in another newspaper report. The firefight that led to the air strikes happened on May 30 and 31. Deles said the government will not be cowed by CPP-NPA propaganda. “It is the government’s obligation to defend its integrity and sovereignty and its citizens from parties that seek to overthrow it and harm its populace. But when government reacts accordingly, the communist rebels quickly and conveniently accuse us of human rights violations,” she said. “We trust that our people can see through the propaganda line of the CPP/NPA/NDF (National Democratic Front),” she said.
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