CAMP LUKBAN, CATBALOGAN CITY, SAMAR – The AFP’s Joint Task Force Storm composed of Army, Air Force and Navy in Eastern Visayas continue to hunt down terrorist CPP-NPA, the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) and its bandits in the hinterlands of Brgy Imelda, Las Navas, Northern Samar on November 23, 2022.
A total of six dead NPAs and 16 assorted firearms were seized from the encounter site after the firefight early in the morning.
AFP’s Joint Task Force Storm spokesperson Captain Ryan Layug said that the group they are hunting down is the perpetrator of the Dorillo village attack in the adjacent town of Jipapad, Eastern Samar. The attack wounded a 10-year-old civilian, and two soldiers and killed another two soldiers tasked to monitor the implementation of government projects in the area. The attack also left hundreds of bullets that pierced at least 15 houses, barangay stage, communal toilet and the newly constructed barangay hall on the said village.
JTF Storm and 8th Infantry Division Commander Major General Camilo Ligayo said that the AFP cannot let these communists continue to terrorize villages. Accordingly technology helped them track the enemy movement.
“Hindi naman pwedeng hayaan natin silang labas pasok sa mga kumunidad, nagrereklamo na ang mga tao sa pangongotong at pananakot ng mga ito. We are the protector of our people, locals appeal na kung pwede nga lang wag na kami umalis sa mga komunidad nila at ayaw nila sa presensya ng mga NPA. Sila na rin mismo ang nagtuturo sa amin ng mga hideout ng mga teroristang ito,” General Ligayo said.
According to former rebels that surrendered to the AFP, the terrorist’s hideouts are surrounded by prohibited anti-personnel mines (APMs) to anihilate soldiers that will attempt to attack them. It is a standard operating procedure (SOP) of the terrorist CPP-NPA.
The terrorist position was heavily fortified as strong resistance met government troops enroute to the hideouts. These triggered the request for close air support and artillery fires.
“We have been calling them to go home to their families, but these group stand by their twisted ideology that killed tens of thousand of Filipinos for their almost 54 years of existence. Paubos na sila sa buong bansa at malapit naring magwakas ang ang terorismo nila dito sa Samar” General Ligayo added.
According to NTF-ELCAC, there are five remaining active CPP-NPA guerilla fronts in the country. Four of them are in Region 8, particularly in Northern Samar Province going to its boundaries with the provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar.
Meanwhile, around 200 barangays in the region are set to benefit this year’s NTF-ELCAC’s Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) providing P4M to conflict-affected barangays that can be used to build water systems, school buildings, roads, health centers on choice of the Barangay Council.