The New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas today assailed the 20th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army for attacking a unit of the NPA in Northern Samar that was in the midst of preparing for a local anti-COVID-19 campaign. “The raid by the 20th IB last April 23 shows it is traitorous and hawkish and cannot be expected to at least consider that the NPA unit was on the defensive and strictly abiding by the existing unilateral ceasefire which was set to end on April 30,” said Ka Karlos Manuel, spokesperson for the Efren Martires Command. “More importantly, it is inhumane and cruel in that it impeded the assistance that could have been provided by the NPA and is much needed by the masses deeply affected by the current public health and economic crises.”
Elements of the 20th IB raided an NPA encampment in Brgy. P. Rebadulla, Catubig town last April 23 at around 3pm. The Red fighters were meeting to prepare local mass organizations on how to conduct information, public health, sanitation and food production campaigns in line with the NPA’s anti-COVID-19 campaign.
“The NPA through the National Democratic Front expressed openness to working with the Duterte government in a broad humanitarian front against the coronavirus. But through the military’s non-stop operations against the NPA, the regime utterly rejected this offer. The 20th IB is clearly dead set to fulfill their president’s pipe dream of crushing the NPA before his term ends on 2022, spending away millions of pesos worth of operations that were better spent strengthening the government’s slow and ineffective public health and economic response.”
The Efren Martires Command urged the people of Northern Samar to reject the lies of the 20th IB as well as their militarist response to the pandemic that is used to disguise their continuing counter-insurgency operations. “Meanwhile, the NPA is willing to cooperate with and guarantees the safety of medical, humanitarian and cause-oriented institutions, including those from the reactionary government, who wish to deliver aid to the revolutionary territories. We urge them to reject the Army’s offer to serve as their security escorts as they may be used to justify overlapping combat operations.”#