NPA meets newly deployed 78th IB with offensives; 21 soldiers killed*
Efren Martires Command
New People's Army-Eastern Visayas
June 22, 2011
The Efren Martires Command of the New People's Army in Eastern Visayas today said the 78th IB newly deployed to Leyte had been met with tactical offensives last March and lost 21 soldiers to the Mt. Amandewin Command. “The latest report by MAC belies the downplaying in the media by 802nd Infantry Brigade chief Col. John Bonafos that the 78th IB suffered only one casualty killed last March in an alleged encounter,” said Ka Karlos Manuel, EMC spokesperson. “The truth is the MAC reports that 18 soldiers were killed in three NPA tactical offensives last March. Three more soldiers were killed in a misencounter shortly after. Meanwhile, four Red fighters were slightly wounded by shrapnel from enemy return fire.”
Manuel said the fascist troops had launched military operations in terrain characterized by steep ravines favorable to NPA offensives. “The enemy operations commenced on Feb. 4, when about 140 troops from the 19th IB illegally encamped inside the barrios between Albuera and Baybay towns and conducted anti-communist propaganda under Oplan Bayanihan. On March 2, the new troops from the 78th IB took over and conducted offensive operations. The MAC decided to mount offensives against the enemy troops for causing hardships to civilians and because of favorable circumstances.
“On March 8 in Sityo Mati, Brgy. Antipolo, Albuera, Red fighters of the MAC ambushed a platoon of the 78th IB at 4:00 p.m. In the more than 40-minute battle, six soldiers were killed and the rest were pinned down. The Red fighters then temporarily withdrew. At 6:00 a.m. the next day, a smaller NPA unit returned and for 10 minutes harassed the enemy troops who were pinned down. Five more soldiers were killed.
“On March 13, in Sityo Buwak, Brgy. Tinag-an, Albuera, the Red fighters again ambushed another platoon of the 78th IB at about 10:00 a.m. Seven soldiers were killed in more than an hour of fighting. Furthermore, on March 18, three soldiers were killed in a misencounter between demoralized enemy units conducting continuous operations.”
The EMC spokesperson said the NPA victories were rejoiced by the people who were harassed by the military, as well as raised the morale and fighting spirit of the NPA. Manuel added the military was using its troops like cannon fodder and called on the soldiers to surrender when given the chance because they would be spared. “The intense military operations in Leyte expose the soft descriptions of Oplan Bayanihan as sweet nothings. The main objectives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines remain the defeat or crippling of the NPA by military means. But with the support of the people and with superior guerrilla tactics, the NPA is turning the tables on the AFP. The NPA is calling on the soldiers to stop throwing away their lives needlessly in fighting poor people like them. Surrender when given the chance because the NPA accords lenient treatment of prisoners of war in line with international humanitarian law. The continuing NPA victories in Leyte will doom Oplan Bayanihan and contribute to raising the people's war to a new and higher level.”