Sunday, April 2, 2017

Army reiterates public support to fight armed rebels in Samar

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): Army reiterates public support to fight armed rebels in Samar

The Philippine Army encouraged the public to step up their support to the government's fight against communist rebels in Samar Island.

“Everyone is highly encouraged to report to any nearest military units any NPA sightings in their area,” said Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division public affairs office chief Lt. Cherry Junia.

The official reiterated their call to the public on Sunday days after the 150 suspected New People’s Army (NPA) surprisingly attacked a detachment of Civilian Active Auxiliary in Geparayan village, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar on March 30.

The recent attack forced the 17 members of government troop to fire back resulting to exchange of gunfire that lasted two and a half hours. The NPA allegedly burned the camp.

The clash injured four civilians living near the camp. Three of them are minors.

“The atrocity proved once again that the NPA is no longer concern for the well-being of civilians who are considered non-combatants and a clear manifestation that the communist terrorists do not abide to the Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and Rule of Law,” Junia said.

The Army said they need public support to fight the communist as they “continue massive combat operation to deter the evil plans of the NPA.”

After the incident, the government force lost one M60 machine gun, one rifle 4A3, four carbine rifle, five garand rifle and one handheld radio.

Samar provinces have been a stronghold of armed rebels due to its terrain consisting of densely forested mountainous areas, high poverty incidence, and issue of widespread landlessness, according to a 2013 study of William Norman Holden of the University of Calgary in Canada.

Since the early stages of the rebellion, Samar Island has been considered to be a rebel stronghold, with 11 percent of all NPA-related incidents have taken place on the three provinces, the same study revealed.

The NPA launched its first tactical operation in the country in Calbiga, Samar in 1974, when it ambushed an Army scout patrol and seized a number of their weapons.

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