EVACUATION. A Black Hawk helicopter is sent to Mapanas, Northern Samar to evacuate seven soldiers injured by an anti-personnel mine explosion planted by the New People's Army (NPA) on July 5, 2022. The recent incident was another clear manifestation that the communist terrorist group is against development in the province, the provincial government said. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY – The recent detonation of anti-personnel mines by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Northern Samar is another clear manifestation that the communist movement is against development in the province, Governor Edwin Ongchuan said Friday.

In a statement, the official condemned the treacherous attack against soldiers belonging to the Community Support Program (CSP) teams, considered the “government’s messengers of peace and reconciliation.”

“They immerse themselves in the community to identify the needs and concerns of the people for other agencies to provide the necessary interventions. These attacks on our CSP teams are indications that the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA are opposed to our vision of creating peaceful and resilient communities here in Northern Samar,” Ongchuan said.

The show of violence by the CPP-NPA, by using banned explosive, is “absolutely inhuman and certainly not acceptable,” said Ongchuan, the chair of the provincial task force to end local communist armed conflict.

Ongchuan issued the statement following the July 5 detonation of anti-personnel mines that wounded seven soldiers in the upland village of Magsaysay in Northern Samar.

“As we pray for the recovery of those injured, we assure our communities that we will continue to support the government’s efforts for peace and development in the province. We will persevere and keep our pursuit of genuine and lasting peace,” Ongchuan added.

Ending insurgency is one of the top priorities in this year’s Northern Samar Peace and Order and Public Safety Plan.

The Plan, which is now in its third and final year of implementation, has highlighted the proliferation of illegal drugs, the presence of insurgency, the prevalence of road accidents, and the occurrence of stronger typhoons as the primary peace and order and public safety issues confronting the people of Northern Samar.

Some upland areas of Northern Samar are considered as NPA’s stronghold in Eastern Visayas due to poor road network, thick forests, high poverty incidence, and low level of education.

The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)