The death of an elderly woman and a policeman following an NPA attack in Samar last Friday will not stop the planned resumption of the government’s peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines, an official said Sunday.
But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said a relentless military campaign would be carried-out against the NPA terrorist as the talks progressed.
This developed as four communist rebels were killed in an encounter with security forces in Matnog town in Sorsogon on Sunday morning.
“No let-up even during the peace talks on our operations against their armed components who continue to wage war, Lorenzana said as he viewed the Samar attack as a deliberate attempt by the NPA to project their strength.
“That usually is what they do on the eve of peace talks to project their so-called strength.”
Meanwhile, the family members of one of the victims of the communist rebels’ bomb attack in Eastern Samar last Friday asked the government to put an end to the decades-old insurgency.
Dario Rapada, 44, told the Philippine News Agency on Saturday that the rebel group should stop conducting treacherous attacks that had killed and wounded civilians, including the elderly and children.
The father of three is the husband of Mary Grace Rapada, 39, who suffered head fractures when the rebels detonated an improvised explosive device on a section of the primary highway in Libuton village, Borongan City, around 3 p.m.
Mary Grace was heading home to San Julian town from the city on board a tricycle when the rebels detonated the explosive intended for a passing police patrol car. She is one of the civilians wounded in the attack and is now confined at the Eastern Visayas Medical Center in Tacloban City.
“We don't really understand what they're fighting for, but we are suffering from their attack against the government, said Dario, a gasoline station cashier in Borongan City, the capital of Eastern Samar.
Lorenzana said the return to the negotiating table is a move aimed at bringing the underground fighters back to the society.
At least 13 other civilians, including three minors and four policemen, were also wounded in the ambush in a forested village in Libutan, Borongan, Samar.
AFP spokesman Edgard Arevalo said the NPA carried out the attack despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to Secretary Silvestre Bello III to discuss with Jose Maria Sison how the peace negotiations could be resumed.
“In essence, the CPP-NPA under Mr. Sison and his stewards merely confirmed who they really are: opportunists in advancing the peace negotiations and transgressors of human rights masquerading as pro-people, Arevalo said.
Maj. Ricky Anthony Aguilar, Public Affairs chief of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, said army and police forces from the 31st Infantry Battalion were on combat patrol in Tugas willage when they chanced upon 60 terrorists.
Aguilar said fighting followed and lasted for an hour, but the NPA group retreated and left behind four dead comrades.
He said the 60 NPA fighters were believed to have been planning a tactical offensive and at the same time conducting extortion activities in time for the CPP’s anniversary on Dec. 26 when they were spotted by government forces. With PNA