Amidst the deluge of the joint forces of the 20th Infantry Battalion and the 81st Division Reconnaissance Company, the New People’s Army-Rodante Urtal Command (RUC) overcame the challenge and ran triumphant despite the enemy’s massive military campaign in Las Navas, Northern Samar. In the series of firefights that ensued near the barrios of Brgy. Epaw, Brgy. San Jose, and Brgy. Sag-od, the enemy suffered 14 casualties: 11 killed in action and at least 3 wounded in action, based on several accounts.
According to the people’s intelligence network, more than 500 combined forces of the 20th IB and the 81st DRC patrolled the perimeter and treacherously lurked around. The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Joint Task Force Storm of the Central Command and the 8th Infantry Division even conducted a “surgical air strike” last October 26, sparing no expense in using air assets such as jet fighters, helicopters, drones and in deploying 170 ground troops. Even then, they failed to claim the life of a single Red fighter. Not a single unit of the NPA was completely defeated.
But as per the usual fare of the AFP, they retaliated against civilians. During the span of time of the military operations in the area, several human rights occurred within the area, such as the case of Brgy. Epaw peasants Benerando Tuca, Sr. and Allan Orsolino, who were only out to feed their pigs, the massive evacuation of Brgy. Sag-od residents, the countless coercion and intrusions into the relatively peaceful lives of the nearby barrios, and the fear of going to their farms for fear of being branded as a member of the NPA, on top of the economic difficulties already experienced by Las Navasnons. The NPA-RUC heeded the call of the people and came to the farmers’ defenses and sought to evict the soldiers from the premises.
In Brgy. Sag-od, soldiers disavowed any responsibility to protect the barrio residents should any untoward incident happen to them. They forced residents of the nearby barrios to take care of their wounded and accommodate the soldiers. It would behoove the 20th IB and the 81st DRC to conceal the truth about the numerous losses they incurred despite the massive out pour of troopers in the area. They would even go as far as concocting made-up names for the supposed casualties among the ranks of the NPA.
According to the 20th IB, “Local residents are complaining about the rampant extortion activities and NPA encampment along Brgys. San Isidro-Epaw-San Jose-Sag-od complex.” The 20th IB and the military complex would like to delude itself as messiah of Las Navasnons, a big brother whom they can run to. In reality, Las Navas peasants detest the presence of the military forces because they serve no purpose and extend no help. They interrupt their daily livelihood, impose a heavy burden upon the barrios, and force them to become human shields against the AFP’s armed opponents, all in violation of domestic and international humanitarian law.
Said Amado Pesante, spokesperson of the NPA-RUC, “The fascist troops, their pathetic generals, and the US-China-Duterte regime forget that these resolutions are of no effect to the revolutionary movement. The toiling masses will continue to support their true Army, because they know who really strives for their interests and aspirations. Their abuses will only incur more wrath from the oppressed peoples.” He further added that the military victories were not just that of the NPA, but a triumph of the united masses against the attacks of the reactionary state.
Meanwhile, the NPA-RUC recognized the revolutionary bravery and heroism of Ka Uno, peasant youth and invaluable Red fighter, whose death is heavier than that of Mt. Huraw, who was killed by in a firefight in Brgy. Sag-od last October 12. The NPA-RUC condemned the military for waiting for days before turning over his body. Ka Uno was a tireless organizer among the rural youth and an active member of the militia unit he was in before joining as a full-time NPA. His revolutionary fervor never waned and only intensified when he became a regular Red fighter. He persevered in his tasks, gleefully participating in technical work, strengthening his military capacity, and enriching his political consciousness. He was a well-loved comrade, and his collective extends their highest salute to him. The NPA and the toiling masses will pick up the gun he left behind and resolve to intensify people’s war until complete victory is achieved! ###