COVID-19 truce shaken as Army claims 1 NPA guerilla killed in Quezon clash
MANILA, Philippines—A New People’s Army (NPA) suspect was killed in a clash between rebels and soldiers in the province of Quezon on Wednesday (April 1), according to the military on Thursday (April 2) in yet another sign that a truce declared separately by the warring sides is barely holding.
Lt. Col. Emmanuel Cabahug, commanding officer of the 85th Infantry Battalion, said soldiers under his command were performing COVID-19-related tasks at a village in Mulanay town when they were tipped off about the presence of at least 20 NPA guerillas who were allegedly extorting from the people.
The soldiers proceeded to the area, leading to a gunbattle with the guerillas. One soldier was wounded in the clash.
The military said this was the third clash between government security forces and the NPA in Southern Luzon since Saturday and since the separate declaration by the Duterte administration and communist rebels of a truce to allow unimpeded delivery of relief measures for COVID-19.
Last Saturday (March 28), a soldier and at least one NPA were killed in a clash in the town of Rodriguez, Rizal province. The province is among several who had shut down its borders as a quarantine measure against COVID-19.
Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Burgos, 2nd Infantry Division commander, said soldiers under him were tipped off by civilians in Rodriguez about a plan by NPA to launch an attack on soldiers in the area.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana condemned the supposed NPA plan to attack government troops, saying it was a “failure to honor the declaration of the ceasefire.”
Edited by TSB
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