Army hits NPA violation of ceasefire, soldier, CNTs hurt

Published April 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Marie Tonette Marticio

TACLOBAN City – The Philippine Army has condemned the New People’s Army (NPA) for violating the ceasefire while the country grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

A soldier was wounded while an undetermined number of casualties was reported on the enemy’s side when the 20th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Division responded to a report of extortion activities in Brgy. Lakandula, Las Navas, Northern Samar.

The NPAs were allegedly forcefully collecting food and other basic commodities while the village is under general community quarantine (GCQ) due to COVID-19.

This prompted the military to conduct a community protection patrol and engage in a firefight with NPAs on Tuesday, April 7, at around 2:50 p.m.

“While the entire nation is battling the contagion, the (Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army Terrorists or CNTs are taking advantage of the ceasefire by regrouping and arming themselves to orchestrate an attack against our government forces. The enemies are intimidating the populace who are already experiencing fear and uncertainty due to the GCQ by forcibly extracting food causing scarcity of resources in the far-flung communities,” Major General Pio Dinoso III AFP, Commander of 8ID said.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA on March 19. The CPP-NPA declared on March 26 a similar ceasefire with the government due to COVID-19.

Dinoso said that despite the attack, the delivery of the urgently needed medical, health, and economic assistance, as well as the movement of the people will not be hampered.

“Your army assures the public that we will not drop our guards in securing the people and to work with the government to bring back normalcy in our lives that was derailed by the dreaded virus,” Dinoso added.