DILG condemns attack on Samar cops, health workers
MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday condemned the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) for the ambush in Samar of a convoy of local health workers escorted by police on their way to Leyte to fetch 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 front-liners na kukuha sana ng bakuna ay tinambangan nila (They really spare no person, place, or situation in killing and sowing terrorism. This only proves that they are enemies of the state who do not have any concern for the people, because they ambushed even our medical front-liners who are about to get vaccines),” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a news release.
Año said the Calbayog City Health Office staff members 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.
According to the local police, 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 police immediately engaged the terrorists who immediately retreated and fled from the scene towards the mountainous area of the barangay.
“Mabuti na lang at walang nasugatan o namatay sa insidente dahil sa pananambang na ito sa ating mga health workers (It’s good that no one was killed or hurt in this ambush on our health workers). We congratulate the Samar police for ensuring the safety and security of our health workers,” Año said.
To ensure the smooth and efficient rollout of the vaccines in the communities, the DILG Secretary directed the PNP to assign additional police personnel to Covid-19 vaccination operations to maintain the peace and order situation in the community.
“Inaatasan ko ang ating mga kapulisan na magtalaga ng mga tauhan para maproteksiyunan ang mga gawain ng Covid-19 teams lalo na sa mga lugar na may patuloy na banta ng mga komunistang terorista (I direct our police to deploy personnel who will protect our Covid-19 teams especially in areas where there is a continued threat from communist terrorists),” he said.
Call for citizen action
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) spokesperson Jonathan Malaya called on the public to immediately report sightings of CTGs 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 preserve safety and order in our communities. Don’t just rely on the police because you also have a role to play to ensure your personal safety and peace in the community),” Malaya said.
“Maaari kayong mag-text, mag-PM (private message) o tumawag sa pinakamalapit na PNP station, DILG office, o barangay para i-report kapag may namataan kayong mga NPA sa inyong mga lugar (You can send a text message, send a PM or call the nearest PNP station, DILG office or barangay to report NPA sightings in your areas),” he added.
Malaya also expressed dismay that the communist terrorist groups still continue to spread senseless violence in far-flung areas amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (PR)