By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has denounced the “anti-nationalistic” and “unchristian acts” of communist rebels after allegedly stealing food and other relief goods intended for communities in Samar.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo warned the rebels to stop using force to take the relief aid amid the coronavirus pandemic or else face the full force of the law.
“The Palace condemns in the strongest terms the reported incident of members of the New People’s Army (NPA) robbing relief goods or forcibly collecting foodstuff at Northern and Eastern Samar, thereby causing a shortage thereof for intended beneficiaries,” he said in a statement Sunday.
“Should they persist in their anti-nationalistic and unchristian acts, the constituted authorities shall repulse them at every turn,” he added.
A group of communist rebels reportedly snatched the relief goods being distributed by barangay officials to families in Balangiga town, Eastern Samar. The communist rebels also reportedly forcibly collected food items from homes in Las Navas, Northern Samar.
Panelo said the government will provide aid to the needy during the coronavirus crisis but will not tolerate the use of violence and threats. He said resorting to force or duress is “unconscionable” especially amid the public health emergency.
“The Office of the President understands that NPA members may also be in need of food or other basic commodities for their survival. While the government is ready to provide relief or assistance to our brothers and sisters who are in dire need thereof, the same cannot be claimed through violence or threats,” he said.
“In this time of state of calamity and public health emergency, we call on those operating outside of the law not to add burden to the very people they professed to fight for,” he added.