By Minde Nyl R. Dela Cruz
TWO suspected rebels were arrested in Catbalogan City, Northern Samar, on Thursday, April 5, amid President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order to resume peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
This came after a platoon from the 43rd Infantry (We Search) Battalion encountered an undetermined number of communist rebels — classified as Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorists or CNTs — in San Vicente village while conducting a security patrol based on reports of alleged extortion activities. There were no reported casualties on the government’s side.
Seized also were firearms, a laptop and other computer devices, two card readers, and two cellphones.
In a statement, Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio, commander of the 8th Infantry Division, said, “This incident clearly shows that these CNTs are desperate to incur casualties (among) government troops to slow down the delivery of basic services of the government to the communities.”
Mr. Farnacio noted that government troops were guarding the ongoing PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) Project and other government programs in the province.
Mr. Duterte authorized this week the resumption of peace negotiations with the rebels subject to conditions, despite a Hague joint declaration provision that “no precondition shall be made….”