Army general says NPA in Samar now just ‘fighting for survival’
By Sarwell Meniano / Philippine News Agency
TACLOBAN CITY – The recent atrocities of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Samar provinces show that the armed struggle has already reached the point of “fighting for survival”, a top military official in the region said on Tuesday.
Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso III, commander of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said the terroristic activities of the NPA are expected since the war against the communist insurgents in the region is almost over.
“We are almost done with our campaign. We should expect this to be more violent since NPA members are already fighting for survival. They want to project that they are still strong,” Diñoso told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.
The military official issued the statement after recent attacks of the communist terrorist group that killed and injured soldiers, militiamen, village officials, and civilians in Samar Island.
On Sunday, an NPA fighter was killed in a gunfight between government troops and the communist terrorist group (CTG) in upland San Andres village in Borongan City, Eastern Samar.
Soldiers had been patrolling the community acting on complaints of extortion activities by the insurgents.
On July 10, Crispin Mordido, 37, the village chief of San Andres in Las Navas, Northern Samar was shot dead by a group of NPA rebels when he met them for a locally initiated peace dialogue.
“They killed the village chief to threaten communities since they are already losing support from villagers,” Diñoso said.
A day earlier, a soldier was killed after he and his team had a gun battle with about 10 NPA rebels in Victory village also in Las Navas town. Stray bullets hit a village watchman and injured a six-year-old girl.
On July 7, a soldier and two militiamen were killed while six others from the government troops were injured when armed rebels detonated three anti-personnel mines in Jipapad, Eastern Samar.
“Our troops have no firearms since they were carrying woods to build a detachment. They had no capacity to fight, but the NPA used anti-personnel mines to kill and mutilate them. This is the NPA’s strategy since they are not anymore capable to engage in a face-to-face gun battle,” Diñoso added.
The military strongly condemned the NPA for insisting on using anti-personnel mines that were already banned since 1997.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)