AFP’s bombs failed to distinguish the medics and the patients, and other unarmed personnel who were not in a position to battle, the CPP complained
Nineteen New People’s Army (NPA) fighters died in an air strike by the government military in Dolores, Eastern Samar last August 16, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) website announced.
In one of the NPA’s biggest loss in a single incident in years, the CPP said those who perished were part of a 50-man unit who were in the area to conduct political, military, economic, education, cultural and medical work among peasant masses.
The Red fighters were also conducting an investigation into the socioeconomic conditions of the peasant masses in the area with the aim of addressing their needs and problems, the group added.
“They were among the best sons and daughters of the people who dedicated their lives to the cause of national freedom and democracy. Their deaths bear hard upon the hearts of the workers and peasants across the country and all the oppressed peoples in the entire world,” the CPP in a statement said.
The group’s statement came at the heels of several announcements by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that an undetermined number of NPA guerrillas were killed in an early morning air strike, followed by fire fights that lasted the entire day.
The Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division in Catbalogan City said no casualty had been reported among its 52nd Infantry Battalion troopers who engaged the guerrillas, aided by the Philippine Air Force.
The state troopers also said they recovered at least 20 assault rifles, a laptop and a handgun at the NPA encampment where the rebels were allegedly manufacturing bombs.
The CPP however said the Red fighters were conducting a continuing campaign to raise the people’s awareness of the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent infections from reaching their hinterland communities where there are no medical facilities.
The group added a team of medics were among the NPA unit to perform a surgery in the camp for a civilian patient suffering from hernia.
‘A big loss’
The CPP admitted that the deaths of the NPA “martyrs” was “without a doubt…a big loss.”
“It is, however, a temporary setback and does not negate the overall forward direction of the people’s war. Indeed, in Eastern Visayas and the rest of the country, the NPA continues to make strides in recruiting new Red fighters, building more units, expanding its areas of operations, building new guerrilla fronts, defending the people against the AFP’s armed suppression and mounting tactical offensives to strike blows against the fascist monsters,” the CPP statement said.
The group expressed confidence that the NPA in the said municipality will be reorganized with new recruits to continue the work of their fallen comrades.
“We may have lost a number of fine people’s warriors, but even greater numbers are sure to emerge to take their place as new Red fighters of the heroic people’s army,” the group said.
The CPP meanwhile condemned AFP’s aerial bombing and strafing as well as artillery shelling it said constituted a disproportionate use of force.
In the case of the Dolores bombing, the AFP’s bombs failed to distinguish the medics and the patients, and other unarmed personnel who were not in a position to battle, the CPP complained.
In a Manila Bulletin report, unexploded AFP bombs allegedly hit at least two houses in Brgy. Cabaguan that pierced ceilings and terrorized residents.
“These terrorist weapons should be banned as these cause massive loss of lives among unarmed people, endanger the lives of civilians, traumatize thousands of people, especially children, and damage and ravage the environment and property,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)