SACRIFICE. Soldiers load a body of a trooper killed in an attack by the New People's Army in Laoang, Northern Samar on May 21, 2019. The military has built a flagpole inside a school where Sgt. Alex Saliwan was slain to honor his sacrifice. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Army has built a flagpole in Laoang, Northern Samar to honor a soldier killed in an attack by the communist terrorist group in 2019 while securing a key infrastructure project.

The Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion will inaugurate the flagpole on Saturday inside the campus of EJ Dulay National High School in Laoang, the site where Sgt. Alex Saliwan was fatally shot while fighting off around 50 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

During the attack, the school was the temporary patrol base of soldiers tasked to secure the Korean-funded Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project. Two NPA rebels were also killed during the 30-minute clash.

“In the third death anniversary of Saliwan, we will remember him for sacrificing his life while doing critical infrastructure protection and security operations,” 20th Infantry Battalion spokesperson 2nd Lt. Joyce Ann Bayron said in a phone interview on Friday. 

Bayron said road projects are considered by the communist terrorist group as a setback in their goal to advance their armed struggle as communities with poor access are considered vulnerable to the persuasion of the NPA.

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

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)