By DPAO, 8ID PA
April 8, 2020
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 20th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army received a report from a concerned civilian pertaining the presence of an armed group believed to be Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) harassing the locals of Brgy. Lakandula, Las Navas, Northern Samar. The CNTs were forcefully collecting foods and other basic commodities while the village is on General Community Quarantine (GCQ) due to COVID-19 which prompted the military to conduct Community Protection Patrol and engage in a firefight more or less fifteen (15) CNTs on April 7, 2020 at around 2:50 in the afternoon.
The encounter resulted to the wounding of one soldier while there are undetermined number of casualties of the enemies as evidenced by bloodstains found in the enemy's escape route.
It can be recalled that on March 19, 2020, President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA to which the CPP ordered the NPA on March 26, 2020 a similar ceasefire with the government as the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"While the entire nation is battling the contagion, the CNTs are taking advantage of the ceasefire by regrouping and arming themselves to orchestrate an attack against our government forces. The enemies are intimidating the populace who are already experiencing fear and uncertainty due to the GCQ by forcibly extracting food causing thereby scarcity of resources in the far-flung communities.”, stated Major General Pio Q. Dinoso III AFP, Commander of 8ID.
"This deliberate violation of the ceasefire by the NPA will not hamper the delivery of the urgently needed medical, health and economic assistance as well as the movement of the people. Your Army assures the public that we will not drop our guard in securing the people and to work with the government to bring back normalcy in our lives that are derailed by the dreaded virus”, Dinoso added.