The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) denounced Tuesday, August 3, ambush of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in Samar on the convoy of health workers and the police on their way to Leyte to pick-up coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) vaccines last week.
“The CPP-NPA-NDF’s height of insensitivity, callousness, and opportunism knows no bounds. (Wala na talaga silang pinipiling tao, lugar, o sitwasyon para pumatay at maghasik ng terorismo. Patunay lang ito na sila ay kaaway ng bayan at walang malasakit sa mga mamamayan dahil kahit ang ating mga medical frontliners na kukuha sana ng bakuna ay tinambangan nila (They kill and create terrorist acts on any person, place and situation. This only proves that they are the enemy of the state with no concern for the people’s welfare since they even ambushed the medical frontliners picking up the vaccines),’’ DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said.
Fortunately, no one was injured or killed during the attack.
Año recounted that the Calbayog City Health Office staff escorted by Calbayog City Police Station (CPS) personnel were on their way to the Department of Health Regional Office 8 in Palo, Leyte when they were suddenly attacked by the Communist terrorists last July 27.
The PNP Samar said the team heard a burst of gunfire and a loud explosion from an improvised explosive device (IED) 20 meters behind their convoy while traversing the Maharlika Highway, Barangay Lale, Pinabacdao, Samar.
After ensuring the safety of the health workers, the escorts from the Calbayog PNP immediately engaged the terrorists who immediately retreated and fled from the scene towards the mountainous area of the barangay.
To ensure the smooth and efficient rollout of the vaccines in the communities, Año directed the PNP to assign additional police personnel to COVID-19 vaccination operations to maintain the peace and order situation in the community.
Call for citizen action
DILG Undersecretary and NTF ELCAC spokesperson Jonathan Malaya called on the public to immediately report sightings of “CTGs (communist terrorist groups) in their localities to local authorities.
“Nananawagan po kami sa mga mamamayan na tumulong para mapanatili ang kaligtasan at kaayusan ng inyong mga pamayanan. Huwag po kayong umasa lamang sa mga kapulisan dahil kayo man po ay may papel na dapat gampanan para sa inyong kaligtasan at kapayapaan,” (We call on the public to help maintain safety and order in your communities. Do not just depend on the police since you also play a part to ensure your safety and peace),’’ Malaya said.
The DILG spokesperson noted that the public may report through text messages, personal messages or may coursed through the nearest PNP station, DILG office or barangays if they spot NPA members.
Malaya also expressed dismay that “the CTGs still continue to spread senseless violence in the far-flung areas even as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic.’’ (Chito A. Chavez)