MANILA – Members of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), proved that they are indeed “bandits,” when they attacked government troops in Davao City amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.
Roque issued the statement in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, a day after NPA members attacked the 16th Infantry Battalion troops in Sitio Kapihan in Malabog village in Paquibato District in Davao City.
“Ito po ay nagpapatunay talaga na bandido po itong NPA. Kung hindi ba naman sila bandido, sa panahon na dapat nagkakaisa dahil ang kalaban natin ay sakit na Covid-19, eh bakit sila aatake pa sa ating puwersa ng gobyerno (This proves that this NPA [rebels] are bandits. If they are not bandits, why will they attack the government forces at the time we are united in the fight against Covid-19),” Roque said.
Two soldiers from the 16th Infantry Battalion were wounded when NPA rebels launched an offensive in Paquibato District on Wednesday.
Roque was dismayed that NPA guerillas preferred to wage a war against the state forces rather than help the government in its fight against Covid-19.
He also lamented that the communist insurgents are targeting soldiers who are helping in the distribution of emergency subsidies to poor families affected by the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
He said NPA bandits should be ashamed of themselves for attacking the government troops despite the current situation in the country.
“Mantakin niyo naman iyan, kung hindi bandido yung mga iyan, ang pinag-interesan pa, yung nagibibigay ng ayuda sa mga nagugutom dahil sa ECQ. Mahiya po kayo CPP-NPA (Imagine, if they are not bandits, why would they attack those who are giving assistance to the needy people? Be ashamed of yourselves, members of CPP-NPA),” Roque said.
The latest attack came even after the CPP-NPA extended its ceasefire until April 30 to “prioritize the fight against the pandemic and ensure the safety, health and well-being of everyone.”
Roque, however, cast doubt on the sincerity of CPP-NPA members.
“Napakahirap namang paniwalaang ang sinseridad ng CPP-NPA. Samantalang habang sinasabi nilang gusto nilang magkaroon ng unilateral ceasefire, wala pong tigil ang kanilang pag-atake sa ating mga sundalo (It’s hard to believe the CPP-NPA ‘s sincerity. While they are saying they want to have a unilateral ceasefire, they keep on attacking the soldiers),” he said.
Roque said NPA bandits should desist from attacking the government forces amid the health crisis.
He also appealed for their cooperation to ensure the successful fight against Covid-19 which already infected 6,710 people in the country.
“Sa panahon na dapat nagkakaisa dahil ang kalaban natin ay sakit na Covid-19, bakit sila ay aatake pa sa ating pwersa ng gobyerno…? Tumulong na lang po kayo (In this time that we should work together because our enemy is Covid-19, why are they attacking government forces? They should instead help the government),” Roque said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terror group by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)