The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) claimed responsibility for the Jan. 4 armed encounter between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Philippine Army (PA) in Malibcong, Abra where a ranking military officer was killed.
In a statement Sunday, Jan. 10, the CPP said that members of the Agustin Begnalen Command of the NPA-Abra were the ones involved in the firefight with the Army’s 72nd Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC) and 24th Infantry Battallion in Barangay Pacqued.
“Noong Enero 4, bandang alas-8:40 ng umaga nang pinutukan ng mga pulang mandirigma ang platun ng DRC (Last Jan. 4, around 8:40 a.m., the Red combatants fired shots at the DRC platoon),” it said.
The encounter resulted in the death of 2nd Lt. Zaldy Lapis, the platoon leader of the 72nd DRC.
The 7th Infantry Division (7ID), which has jurisdiction over the involved military unit, earlier condemned the CPP-NPA over Lapis’ killing.
Lapis was the first casualty of the military in its tactical offensives against the communist insurgents this year.
According to an initial military report, the troops were conducting combat operations in the area when they were fired upon by the rebels.
“Your ultimate sacrifice will not be forgotten. It will be our inspiration to fight until we have achieved peace that we all long for,” the 7th ID said in a statement.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier refused to recommend to President Duterte the implementation of a holiday ceasefire with the CPP-NPA over their supposed “insincerity.”
AFP Chief, General Gilbert Gapay had said that the CPP-NPA only uses the holiday ceasefire to replenish their resources and recruit new members.
In return, the CPP ordered the NPA, its armed wing, to continue their attacks against government troops during the holiday season.
It also recently announced plans to revive its Special Partisan Units (Sparus) in the cities. Sparus are the special hit squads of the CPP which gained notoriety in the 1980s for several high-profile killings.