THE 8th Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army hoisted its security level into full alert status following the recent attacks of the New People’s Army (NPA) against government troops.
This is also in anticipation of the series of atrocities that will be staged by the rebels before they celebrate their 43rd anniversary.
Lieutenant Colonel Niceforo Diaz, spokesperson of 8th ID, said they have deployed sufficient number of soldiers in the region’s rebel hotspots, especially in the provinces of Samar, to increase the military’s presence and to deter crimes that will be committed by the rebel group.
“Based on the history in Samar, the rebel group is always taking advantage every time they are to celebrate their anniversary to let us know that they are still strong and existing,” said Diaz, while maintaining that they have weakened the rebel force because of their series of aggressive operations to wipe out insurgency.
“Our soldiers are already deployed in several areas to ensure that our brothers in the rebel army will not do atrocities because if this continues, nothing will happen,” he added.
Earlier this month, the military engaged in several firefights with the NPA in Northern Samar, which is considered to be the most rebel-infested province in Samar Island.
The encounters resulted in casualties to both sides.
The Army spokesperson said they are now closely coordinating with local government units to step up their intelligence gatherings few days before the NPA celebrates its anniversary on March 29, to avoid similar assaults from the group.
“In fact, because of our earlier coordination with the people, we were able to recover a bomb-making facility in Paranas, Samar and all of the rebel’s improvised bombs,” he said.
In a press statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines earlier urged the people and its revolutionary forces to undertake mass activities in the following weeks to commemorate the founding of the NPA as its armed wing.
“On March 29, let us mark the 43rd anniversary of the NPA by celebrating the victories of the past year and steeling our determination to bring the people’s war to the strategic stalemate in the next few years,” the group said.
The organization also called its supporters and units of NPA to undertake cultural, education and propaganda activities to prepare for military parades and cultural activities.