PH Army denies Reds’ claim civilians endangered in Eastern Samar clash
MANILA, Philippines—The military on Tuesday (Aug. 17) denied that civilians were endangered in a clash between government soldiers and New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in Eastern Samar province.
Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso III, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said the clash site was far from populated areas.
Eighteen communist rebels were killed in a day-long clash in Dolores, Eastern Samar on Monday (Aug. 16), according to the military. Philippine Air Force planes provided close air support to soldiers on the ground.
The slain guerrillas have yet to be identified, Diñoso said at an online press conference.
Soldiers clashed with at least 50 guerrillas, he said. High-powered firearms had been found in the clash site believed to have been used by the guerrillas.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemned the military’s alleged use of air strikes, although it said it was still verifying these claims.
CPP said residents of several villages near the clash site had been put in danger.
“We maintain that aerial bombs, helicopter gunships and artillery shelling are superfluous weapons and disproportionate use of force in counterinsurgency operations,” said CPP in a statement.
“These cause indiscriminate damage to property and the environment and untold terror and trauma among the people,” it added.