The Philippine Army has condemned the communist terrorist group for fatally shooting a soldier delivering a message to villagers in Las Navas, Northern Samar.
Lt. Col. Joemar Buban, commander of the Philippine Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion, said late Wednesday the New People’s Army (NPA) shot Sgt. Marlon Baysa to death in front of the residents of San Francisco village in Las Navas town Tuesday night.
A bullet hit the back of Baysa’s head, causing his instant death.
The fatality was the designated team leader of the community support program (CSP) team deployed in the remote village infiltrated by the NPA.
“Our soldiers have been working to transform the community from being an NPA-highly influenced village into a peaceful and conflict resilient one, but they were attacked,” Buban said in a statement.
The community invited the CSP team members to join the Flores de Mayo celebration, a popular religious festival in the country every May.
The attack is believed to be a retaliation since most of the NPA’s underground mass organization members in the area have voluntarily surrendered, according to the official.
Col. Perfecto Peñaredondo, commander of the Army’s 803rd Infantry Brigade (803rd IB), honored the victim for his “heroism and gallantry in action in support of the attainment of lasting peace and development.”
“Despite this attack, we express our renewed vigor to continue the focused military operation and community support program operation in order to preserve the gains of the government in its peace and development efforts in Northern Samar,” Penaredondo said.
The military earlier said the NPA returned to some communities in the province in their attempt to recover their lost mass base.
Northern Samar is considered the hotbed of the communist terrorist group due to its thick forest and poor road networks.
The high incidence of poverty makes people in upland communities vulnerable to the persuasion of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.
Source: Philippines News Agency