Residents hit NPA harassment during 'Odette' evacuation
By Alexander Lopez / Philippine News Agency
BUTUAN CITY – Residents in different communities of Carmen, Surigao del Sur have condemned the communist New People’s Army (NPA) for harassing soldiers and civilians during the conduct of preemptive evacuation in the town due to Typhoon Odette.
During the first virtual press conference conducted by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Monday, Carmen Mayor Jane Plaza said the people of the town have condemned the NPA rebels for the attack last December.
“We condemned the rebels for the attack. All of the barangays in Carmen and the municipal government have already declared the NPA rebels as persona non grata since 2019,” Plaza said.
Included in the declaration of persona non grata are the legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), she added.
On Dec. 15, 2021, government troopers, in coordination with the local government unit of Carmen, were conducting preemptive evacuations in preparation for the landfall of Typhoon Odette in Barangay Esperanza when fired upon by the NPA rebels.
The soldiers managed to escape unharmed during the attack but two civilians who were onboard a single motorcycle who happened to be at the ambush site were wounded by the NPA insurgents.
The pick-up truck used during the preemptive evacuation was also burned by the insurgents.
The wounded civilians were declared safe after treatment in a medical facility in the area.
Not only during calamities, but the NPA rebels also harass civilians during the rollout of barangay development projects in the town, the mayor pointed out.
Plaza cited some incidents last year in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) in the town where residents who were doing a cash-for-work program were pestered by the burst of gun fires intentionally done by the NPA insurgents.
“The NPA rebels don’t want these development projects in our GIDA areas. They scare the people and we are saddened by these incidents,” Plaza said.
She added that the local government of Carmen will continue to implement development projects in barangays to finally end the terrorism of the NPA insurgents.
"As for LGU-Carmen po, patuloy kaming gumagawa ng programa, lalo na sa aming mga GIDA (Geographically Isolated and Disadvantage) areas para tuluyan na itong mawala, itong mga teroristang grupo na nandudoon, dumadaan at bumibisita pa rin kahit na hindi na po sila welcome ng mga tao; nagpapakita at nagpaparamdam pa rin po sila. Pero hindi po kami tumitigil sa aming mga efforts po para sa ELCAC," Plaza added.
The NPA rebels, she pointed out, are no longer welcome in the communities in the town of Carmen.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)