‘NPA attacks in South Cotabato meant to show they’re not a spent force’
KORONADAL CITY — The New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, attacked Monday night security forces in a remote village in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato to show they are still a force to reckon with, 50 years after they were organized, a military official said on Tuesday.
Lt Col. Jones Otida, commander of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion, said the communist rebels simultaneously harassed a militia patrol base and troops securing a road project in Barangay Lamfugon around 8 p.m, Monday.
Our troops repulsed the attackers and nobody was wounded from our side, he said on local radio.
He noted that two groups of 10 individuals each from the NPA Guerrilla Front 73 simultaneously fired at the government troops in the area.
Otida said militiamen and soldiers assigned in the area also prevented the rebels from burning the heavy equipment used in the construction of a road to the remote village in the area.
“We believe this (harassment against our troops) is a prelude to their golden anniversary commemoration next month,” Otida said. “They want to send the message they are still strong,” he said.
The NPA, which the military has classified as a terrorist organization, was formed 50 years ago on March 29, which also marked the start of the campaign period for local candidates this year for the May 13 mid-term elections.
The campaign period for senatorial candidates and party-list groups already kicked off on February 12.
Otida urged political candidates not to give in to the communist guerrillas’ demands for permits-to-campaign in rebel-controlled areas.
He also reminded candidates of a circular issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government to refrain from supporting the NPA and left-leaning candidates.
Otida said the NPA rebels collect permit-to-campaign fees amounting to P50,000 for municipal council candidates, P50,000 to P100,000 for municipal mayors and P500,000 for senatorial bets.
Otida said the military would do its best to secure communities from communist rebels.
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