The Efren Martires Command (EMC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Visayas today said recent attacks by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against NPA units and ordinary civilians prove that people’s war continues in Leyte, contradicting the military’s earlier claims that the island is “insurgency-free.”
EMC spokesperson Karlos Manuel issued the statement after the regional command received reports from NPA units in Leyte and Southern Leyte which frustrated the state forces’ strike, clearing and psychological warfare operations from July to November this year.
“By continuing to pursue and engage NPA units in combat, state forces especially the 802nd Infantry Brigade unwittingly disproves its claim that it has dismantled two guerrilla fronts in Leyte province,” Manuel said. “Disgruntled and growing desperate, the fascist troops retaliate against civilians who on the other hand continue to support the armed struggle in the face of their fascist state terrorism.”
Citing reports by the NPA-Leyte Island Command, Manuel said Red fighters sustained zero casualty from the AFP’s strike operations last August 30 near Brgy. San Roque, Abuyog, last September 13 in Brgy. Rizal, Kananga, and last November 17 in Brgy. Hiluctugan, Carigara, all in Leyte province.
Within five months, Red fighters also successfully evaded AFP-PNP troops conducting combat clearing and patrol operations in more than 12 barangays in Abuyog in Leyte province, and in Saint Bernard, Sogod, Silago towns in Southern Leyte. Soldiers conducting psychological warfare operations through the Retooled Community Support Program also remain encamped in not less than 16 barangays in nine towns throughout the island.
Meanwhile, state forces also arrested and raided the homes of those with suspected links to the NPA, such as the recent raid in Carigara, Leyte, while also pressuring families, neighbors and local officials to serve as military assets, and forcing entire civilian communities to surrender as NPA members or supporters through food blockades and barangay assemblies, according to the NPA-Leyte Island Command.
For instance, soldiers forced residents of Brgy. Liberatad in Abuyog, Leyte province to surrender for a second time. Now they refuse to cooperate, insisting that they would rather surrender to the mayor than to the military. Other human rights abuses incldue surveillance against civilians veiled as “contact tracing” measures, forcibly taking individuals’ cellphones, and pressuring individuals to go to military camps and surrender as NPA members.
“The US-Duterte regime unleashes its fascist onslaught against unarmed civilians because it knows that the NPA in Leyte cannot wage armed struggle without their support. Duterte and his minions in the 802nd Infantry Brigade are fast becoming isolated as the people are even more steadfast to fight his dictatorship through joining people’s war and to finally oust him,” Manuel ended.#