GENEVA, Switzerland—The New People’s Army (NPA) in Masbate said its successful military operations in the towns of Placer and Dimasalang are its contributions to the celebrations of their 54th founding anniversary tomorrow, March 29.
The NPA’s Jose Rapsing Command (JRC) in the province said its coordinated guerilla actions last Wednesday, March 22, in Barangay Locso-on in Place and Barangay Gain in Dimasalang resulted in the deaths of 10 government soldiers and the wounding of not less than seven others.
The fatalities belonged to the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, augmented by troops from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
JRC-NPA spokesperson Luz del Mar in a statement said they belie Joint Task Force Bicolandia’s claims the government soldiers were ambushed near communities and civilian spaces, in turn accusing government troops of attacking schools “in a desperate attempt to cover up their defeat.”
Del Mar said JRC-NPA their offensive was a reaction to the ongoing focused military operations of their enemies using many drones, helicopters and soldiers.
She added that their coordinated attacks were meant to punish the Philippine Army for its attempts to recruit Masbate students to join the paramilitary Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU).
In a post on its Facebook page, the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army said only two soldiers and two police officers were wounded in the firefights.
In a statement by Acting Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Isidro Purisima subsequently posted on the same military social media page, he said that a government soldier was killed while two others were wounded.
Meanwhile, the Inquirer reported that another soldier was killed in a firefight with the NPA in Masbate Monday, March 27.
Corporal Antonio Parreno Jr. was killed after the 2nd Infantry Battalion figured in a five-minute exchange of gunfire with some 12 communist rebels in Barangay Villahermosa in Cawayan town, the report said.
Del Mar said their series of attacks against government troopers is in defense of Masbate citizens suffering from the intense militarization of their province.
“These tactical offensives prove that the claims by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP and CAFGU of their strategic victory against the revolutionary movement are false,” del Mar added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)