NPA rebels attack troops out to help disaster-hit town in Quezon

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    NEW People’s Army rebels attacked government troops on their way to assist disaster response operations in General Nakar town in Quezon on Sunday, it was reported yesterday.

    No one was reported killed or injured on both sides but the military denounced the attack, noting the troops were out to render assistance to people affected by Ulysses that made three landfalls in Quezon, the last one in General Nakar.

    This is the second attack launched by NPA rebels on soldiers providing typhoon-related help in Quezon, the Rizal-based Army’s 2nd Infantry Division reported.

    Last Thursday, troops from the 85th Infantry Battalion on humanitarian assistance and disaster response were also engaged by the rebels. No one was reported hurt in the firefight.

    On Sunday, troops from the 1st and 80th infantry battalions were on their way to conduct disaster response when they were attacked by rebels in Sitio Madulas, Barangay Pagsangahan at around 9:15 a.m.

    “They’re supposed to augment other forces in the conduct of post-disaster response like road clearing and providing support to the LGU (local government unit) for, soon, possible relief operations,” said 2nd ID spokesman Capt. Jayrald Ternio, adding they received information the rebels were out to ask for food from the residents.

    Brig. Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the Army’s 202nd Brigade, said: “These ragtag band of armed opportunists engaged by the soldiers were on their way to beg food from the locals as they were also affected by the recent typhoons.

    “We could have also given these terrorists relief goods if they asked for it instead of compelling the poor and vulnerable typhoon-stricken locals to provide the provisions for them,” Rillera added.

    Denouncing the NPA atrocity, 2nd ID commander Maj. Gen. Greg Almerol, said: “We are still helping our fellowmen who were devastated by the recent typhoon that hit our part of the country not even a week ago, and yet these rebels are continuing to endanger the lives of the people who they claim they are for.”