NegOcc Mayors Condemn CPP-NPA Atrocities, Laud Gov’t Troops

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Two city mayors in Negros Occidental have condemned the atrocities perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) against government troops amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.

Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca said his city strongly condemns any attempt or action intended to destabilize peace and threaten innocent lives in their community.

“This is not the time to engage in armed conflict. It is time for us to be one as a nation regardless of ideology and affiliations,” the mayor said in a statement recently.

On April 24, two Philippine Army soldiers were injured while four communist rebels were killed in a clash in Barangay Gawahon.

Troops from the 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB), together with policemen from the 6th Special Action Force Battalion, were conducting a health awareness campaign and security patrol in Sitio Sicaba at about 8:30 a.m. when the NPA rebels fired at them, leading to a 30-minute firefight.

Palanca said the attack violated the ceasefire declared by the Philippine government and also by CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison amid the efforts to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I call for peace, especially now, as we fight our unseen enemy, Covid-19. Let us put a stop to the spread of fear and violence. Let us be part of the solution, not the problem,” he added.

Palanca also thanked the troops of 303rd Infantry Brigade, 79IB, and 6th SAF Battalion for their “selfless act of bravery in protecting the citizens of Victorias City and Negros Occidental.”

Rogelio Raymund Tongson Jr., mayor of Himamaylan City, said all forms of atrocities and aggression and acts of terror and violence are highly detrimental to the people’s safety and well-being in a state of a public health emergency.

He lauded the “great service” of the three soldiers of the 94IB who died during a clash with communist-terrorists in Sitio Tugas, Barangay Carabalan on April 19.

“They protected our borders against suspicious quarantine violators, ensuring a safe and Covid-free community over a period of 21 days from March 29, until the time they were deployed to fight against perpetrators of armed conflict,” Tongson said.

He also said the fallen soldiers were “instrumental in the realization of the whole-of-nation approach” to end local communist armed conflict and “dependable advocates in delivering projects for people in far-flung areas”. (Nanette Guadalquiver ndb via pna)

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