Additional clarifications on the Aug. 21 Catarman tactical offensive
Ka Amado Pesante
Rodante Urtal Command,
New People’s Army-Northern Samar
Sept. 3, 2010
This is the official statement of the Rodante Urtal Command, New People’s Army Northern Samar, regarding its Aug. 21 tactical offensive in Brgy. Imelda, Catarman.
We successfully carried out the tactical offensive that targeted first T/Sgt. Rolando de Guia, an active military element of the 63rd Infantry Battalion, and second, the reinforcements sent by the Philippine National Police-Catarman.
T/Sgt. Rolando de Guia took on the cover of a civilian as a village councilor of Brgy. Imelda. But he was in reality a military intelligence handler on active duty under the 63rd IB. It was confirmed by the NPA that De Guia handled intelligence agents and barangay intelligence networks in Catarman. Before transferring to the
63rd IB, De Guia used to be with the 19th IB from the 1980s to the 1990s, where he gained notoriety as a brutal trainor-instructor of the paramilitary CAFGU. De Guia therefore was a legitimate target as an active enemy soldier, and was furthermore sentenced to death by the people’s court for espionage.
The NPA also ambushed the enemy reinforcements sent by the PNP-Catarman, which was anticipated and thus also proved De Guia’s significance was known to the PNP, hence their attempt to secure him. After their vehicle was disabled by command-detonated explosives, the eight PNP elements were all killed in action. Allegations they were
summarily executed are all false. The NPA primarily aims to seize weapons from enemy forces, not physically eliminate them for the sake of some body counting record as is the standard practice of the military and police. Enemy forces who surrender or are no longer able to fight are treated well, in accordance with NPA Point for Attention
No. 8 (“Do not maltreat captives”) and the laws of war.
Seized from the PNP casualties were five M16 rifles, three pistols, a hand-held radio, and other equipment. A .45-caliber pistol was also confiscated from T/Sgt. Rolando de Guia. Because the RUC forces are still on maneuvers to counter enemy pursuit operations, other materials deemed to be personal belongings cannot be returned at the moment but will be later.
The aforementioned facts show the Aug. 21 Catarman offensive was legitimate in all respects. The RUC believes the military and police are hurling fabrications of abuses against the NPA to cover up their losses, and to justify their continuing rights violations under the extended Oplan Bantay Laya. We are concerned government forces may retaliate through political killings and other attacks on innocent civilians in violation of international humanitarian law. We have heard and condemn the fact that Casiano Abing, a court sheriff and Bayan Muna member in Eastern Samar, was murdered by suspected military elements four days after the Catarman tactical offensive.
Lastly, we reject the accusations by the military, police and reactionary local politicians that NPA offensives imperil the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. We believe such statements are arrogant, self-serving and dodging the issue of a just and lasting peace. On the other hand, never did the NPA in Northern Samar demand a stop to peace
talks. Even though our own beloved Red commanders and fighters have also been killed in the course of the war. Even though there is far more compelling reason for us to slam the door on peace talks, because of the decade-long political killings and other rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya in Northern Samar.
Why? Because the NPA in Northern Samar considers the peace talks to be far more important for the general good than its own losses and objections. We are willing to give chance to a venue that will air the people’s grievances and strives to benefit the many. Unlike the military, police and reactionary politicians in Northern Samar who jump at any excuse to claim NPA offensives are “obstacles” to peace talks. The offensives of the NPA have nothing to do with the resumption or not of the peace talks. If the Aquino government is serious about the peace talks, it should face the NDFP which has long been prepared.