In a statement released last February 28, the New People’s Army (NPA) in Western Samar slammed the 19th IB and PNP-Special Action Force for the increase of forced “surrenders” in Matuguinao, Western Samar.
The 19th IB, together with Matuguinao mayor and military agent Aran Boller, recently presented 353 residents as “NPA supporters”. This came after Boller threatened them with charges for violating the Anti-Terror Law if they do not surrender before February 15.
But during the event 19th IB commander Lt. Col. Jasper Pecson also admitted that some of those they forced to “surrender” had simply gone back to the NPA. “This proves that the Duterte regime’s counter-insurgency campaign is a failure,” says Ka Karlos Manuel, NPA-Eastern Visayas’ spokesperson.
NPA-EV also salutes the people of Matuguinao for valiantly resisting the regime’s brutal counter-insurgency campaign.
Focused military operations of the 19th IB and PNP-SAF have been ongoing in Matuguinao and nearby towns of Silvino Lobos, Pambujan, Las Navas, San Roque ad Catubig since December 2020. Due to intense military operations residents of barangays Del Rosario, Ligaya, Carolina, San Roque, Inubod, Rizal and Mahayag have evacuated to the town proper out of fear. The 19th IB recently said at least 195 individuals were subjected to an “tactical interrogation” a euphemism for mental torture. Most (118) of them were later presented as “surrenderees.”
Manuel also called on all NPA units in Eastern Visayas to intensify their tactical offensives, to punish the most notrious rights violators among the enemy troops and ensure that the people attain revolutionary justice.