TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone lauded the collaboration between the Philippine Army and villagers that led to the recent successful operation against the communist terrorist group in an upland village in Dolores, Eastern Samar.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Evardone, the chair of the Eastern Visayas Regional Peace and Order Council, said the close cooperation between the military and civilians is an effective key to end insurgency.
“I hope that this kind of close collaboration will continue so that we can attain peace and development in our province and country,” Evardone said.
On Monday, at least 16 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed and 29 firearms were recovered when government troops launched a major offensive in Osmeña village in Dolores town.
Soldiers acted on tip-offs from villagers about the existence of NPA lair in the jungles, located just three kilometers away from the community.
There were about 50 rebels taking shelter in the lair. They belong to the remnants of the communist terrorist group who left the neighboring Samar province due to intensified clearing operations last year.
The military described the lair as a big encampment maintained by rebels for several months.
It has a multipurpose hall for training and a bomb-making facility.
The governor appealed to the remaining NPA members to surrender to the government so they can be given all the benefits and live a normal life with their families.
“Let's stop this fighting already. It has cost so much lives of our own brothers and sisters and prevented the development of our country. I am willing to sit down with you (rebels) to listen to all your concerns,” he added.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)