Manila: The communist New Peoples’ Army (NPA) has owned up to the September 1 grenade attack at a village fiesta gathering in Davao City that injured at least 37 people.

In a statement, the NPA’s Medardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, said it takes “full responsibility” for the grenade incident in Fatima Village in Davao City’s Paquibato District.

“The NPA issues this self-criticism to apologise to the public and the families for the scores of casualties, including children,” a statement issued by NPA Mindanao spokesperson Rigoberto Sanchez said.

The September 1 attack took place around 8.30pm, just as hundreds of people were gathered at the village gathering hall that was turned into a fairground for the occasion.

The village hall is adjacent to a detachment of the Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division.

Bent on appeasing the civilian population affected by the attack, Sanchez said the NPA will try to make up for the incident.

“The NPA will take concrete measures to indemnify the victims consistent with the principles of revolutionary justice and the policies governing the New People’s Army and the revolutionary movement,” Sanchez said.

He admitted that the NPA had committed an error in judgement.

“The NPA’s 1st Pulang Bagani Company made a wrong decision in initiating a tactical offensive against the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] detachment located in a civilian population,” he said.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The groups’ united front-building arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF), is holding negotiations with the government for a political settlement to the 43-year-old insurgency conflict.

Sanchez said the NPA is conducting an internal investigation into the incident,

“The NPA is ready to take appropriate courses of action, to include among others, disciplinary action on the responsible unit,” he said.

Of the 37 people reported hurt in the explosion, five were injured seriously according to reports.

Earlier, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Ronald dela Rosa was quoted as saying that the grenade attack targeted soldiers of the Army 10th Infantry Division which has a detachment located near the fairgrounds.