The New People’s Army seized 35 high-powered rifles (HPRs) in successive tactical offensives from December 18 to 23, 2018. In addition to the 24 HPR seized by the NPA in Surigao del Sur in December 19, this brought the total number of HPRs seized by the NPA in December to 59.
This was the NPA’s answer to the Communist Party of the Philippines’ call to escalate tactical offensives as a response to the extension of martial law in Mindanao and to commemorate the Party’s 50th anniversary by intensifying the armed struggle.
In the early morning of December 23, 2018, the NPA-Kalinga (Lejo Cawilan Command) successfully raided the CAFGU detachment in Sitio Ag-agama, Barangay Western Uma, Lubuagan. The NPA seized 30 HPRs: seven M16, seven M14, two M4 at 14 Garand, and thousands of ammunitions.
Sgt. Elon Bayang, the detachment’s commander, was killed while three CAFGU elements were wounded.
THe NPA-Ilocos Cordillera Region (Chadli Molintas Command) paid tribute to Roy Tongdo (Ka BK), a resident of Balbalan, Kalinga, who was martyred during the offensive.
The said detachment has been a bane to the residents of Sitio Ag-agama, Barangay Western Uma for the last two years. The military constructed the said detachment last September 2016 to suppress the struggles of minorities and peasants against the operations of foreign-owned company Chevron-Aragorn Power and Energy Corporation at Guidance Management Corporation. The companies’ operations covered 25,000 hectares of land in Lubuagan, Pasil and Tinglayan in Kalinga for geothermal and mining purposes since 2008.
The AFP escalated its surveillance and operations in the area. It created the Community Support Program Team to infiltrate the community and eventually constructed the detachment in Ag-agama.
Samar’s double offensive
In a report from the NPA-Eastern Visayas regional operations command, five R4 rifles were seized in an ambush by the NPA-Northern Samar (Rodante Urtal Command) in Barangay Hinatad, Catarman last December 18, 2018. Eight troopers of the 43rd IB were killed in the four-minute firefight.
This was followed by an attack by the same NPA unit against troopers of the 20th IB in Barangay Caputoan, Las Navas on December 22, 2018. The said troopers were conducting so-called peace and development operations in the area. The early morning attack resulted into three soldiers killed and three wounded.
Meanwhile, Maria Roja Banua, National Democratic Front-Bicol’s spokesperson, belied claims of the 96th IB about the supposed encounter between the NPA and military elements in Sitio Malapat, Baay, Labo, Camarines Norte on December 30.
In reality, the NPA was busy helping typhoon victims during the last week December. They were assisting the people in repairing destroyed houses, furnitures and crops, as well as providing medical support to the disabled and sick.
The AFP is desperately trying to declare victory over the NPA especially after the successive victorious NPA tactical offensives in the region in the last quarter of 2018.