Another armed encounter erupted the other day in the Southern Tagalog region after troops of the 59th Infantry Battalion raided an NPA camp in Gumaca town, Quezon. This was the second armed attack in two days carried out by the AFP desptie Duterte’s declaration of unilateral ceasefire.
Cleo del Mundo, NPA-Quezon spokesperson, disclosed in a statement issued April 1 that troopers of the 59th IB attacked an NPA unit last March 31 in Barangay Mabunga, Gumaca. She belied claims made by a Lt. Col. Edward Canlas that the soldiers were “responding” to residents’ complaints.
Del Mundo revealed that the 59th IB has been conducting combat operations in at least five towns in the province of Quezon, in violation of their commander-in-chief’s direct order.
Last March 28, the forces of the 80th IB attacked a unit of the NPA in the mountainous area of Barangay Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal. The armed clash resulted in one soldier killed. The AFP’s spot report also indicated that the 2nd Division Reconnaisance Company was mobilized to carry out blocking operations.
“Hindi dapat tanggapin ang paliwanag ni Canlas na naroon sila sa lugar para mamahagi ng polyeto kaugnay sa Covid-19,” del Mundo said. “Umay-na-umay na ang taumbayan sa sirang-plakang kwento ng pasistang sundalo na “inireklamo ng mga residente ang panghihingi ng bigas ng NPA.”
(“Canlas’ claim that they were in the area to distribute Covid-10 pamphlets are unacceptable. The people are fed up with the soldiers’ never-ending bogus claim that residents are complaining about the NPA asking for rice.”)
Del Mundo urged media reporters to check facts on the ground.