EVACUATION. Soldiers and policemen evacuate a wounded soldier in Las Navas, Northern Samar after a clash with NPA rebels on Monday (Nov. 29, 2021). The Philippine Army has condemned the NPA for attacking government troops doing a community support program in Las Navas, Northern Samar. (Photo courtesy of PNP Air Unit)

The Philippine Army has condemned the New People’s Army (NPA) for attacking government troops serving under a community support program (CSP) in Las Navas, Northern Samar that injured a soldier.

Col. Perfecto Peñaredondo, commander of the Philippine Army’s 803rd Infantry Brigade, said soldiers were in the area on Monday to help resolve issues being exploited by the terrorist group, as well as to deliver the much-needed basic services.

“The attack will again disrupt the delivery of services for the people in the area,” Peñaredondo said in a statement sent to reporters Monday night.

The CSP is the military’s people-centered program meant to bring peace and development in conflict-affected barangays. It is also an initiative to bring the government closer to the people through the immediate delivery of basic services.

The NPA attacks were held simultaneously in San Jose, Epaw, and Sag-od villages at about 10:48 a.m. on the same day.

It prompted the troops to return fire, causing the terrorists to scamper to the forested areas, Peñaredondo said.

Wounded during the attack in San Jose village was Private 1st Class Darrell Besañes, who was rushed to the Catarman Doctors Hospital for treatment. He is now in stable condition.

Former rebels disclosed that the group behind the attacks was under the Front Committee 1, Sub-Regional Committee “Emporium” of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee under Guillermo Jerusalem alias Ka Gimo.

The group was also responsible for the burning of construction equipment in San Francisco and Dolores villages in Las Navas on July 29, 2021, as well as the killing of San Andres village chief Crispin Mordedo, also in Las Navas on July 10, 2021.

“Residents were terrorized as they were worried that the NPA (rebels) are retaliating against them as they have accommodated the Army troops in their villages,” Peñaredondo added.

This month, government troops reported several attacks by armed rebels in Northern Samar, including the use of banned anti-personnel mines.

On November 27, a member of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) was wounded in a clash with NPA fighters in Mapanas town.

Government troopers also had an armed confrontation with NPA rebels in Roxas village in Catubig town on November 26. No soldier was wounded.

On November 20, two SAF commandos were killed while four others were wounded when the NPA detonated anti-personnel mines in Gamay town.

The PNP earlier deployed SAF personnel to Northern Samar to help in the fight against the terrorist group.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)