MANILA, December 15, 2019 – Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. condemned the attack carried out by the New People’s Army in Eastern Samar last December 14, killing a police officer and two civilians and wounded scores of others, including three children.
“We denounce in the strongest terms this treacherous attack perpetrated the New People’s Army. This shows the inhumane methods being used by the rebels,” Galvez said, referring to the improvised explosive device (IED) detonated by the NPA by the roadside in Borongan City.
He noted that the attack came in the heels of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s pronouncement regarding the possible resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“This latest attack act runs counter to the Duterte Adminstration’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the communist problem,” Galvez said, adding, “As the government tries to address the roots of the insurgency, the rebels continue to mount attacks. This is deplorable.”
The presidential peace adviser vowed that justice will be served to the perpetrators of the attack who are now being pursued by authorities, saying, “Those who committed this crime will not escape the long arm of the law. They will have to pay for the atrocities they committed.”
Galvez joined the groundswell of condemnation among government officials and other stakeholders who did not mince words in denouncing the attack.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar expressed Malacañang’s condemnation over the attack, as he extended the government’s condolences to the victims and their families, while commending the police and emergency personnel for protecting the people.
“We vehemently condemn the NPA attack in Brgy. Libuton which left two dead and wounded several individuals, including three children and policemen. The loss of life and the violence experienced by the victims are reprehensible,” Andanar said.
“We can only imagine the grief of their loved ones who would have spent the Christmas season with them in good health, had it not been for the senseless act of these terrorists. Our thoughts go out to all of you in this difficult time,” he added.
In the meantime, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone condemned the ambush, as he declared: “The Provincial Government of Eastern Samar is appalled at the heinous acts of terror that occurred today, December 13, 2019 at Brgy. Libuton, Borongan.”
“This attack only strengthens our resolve to bolster counter-terrorism efforts and achieve real and lasting peace in our province,” Evardone said.
To recall, President Duterte canceled the peace negotiations with the NDF two years ago after the NPA continued to carry out ambushes against government forces, while conducting extortion activities and attacks on private facilities even as the talks were ongoing.
This led to the issuance of Executive Order No. 70 in 2018, which institutionalized a Whole-Of-Nation Approach wherein there will be a greater synergy in the delivery of government programs and services in remote, conflict affected areas in the country.
Under this approach, local government units will also spearhead localized peace engagements (LPEs), which aim to engage the rebels in peaceful dialogue, while encouraging them to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.
“EO 70 aims to empower LGUs and other peace stakeholders in the community to lead efforts in crushing the communist rebellion. Because they are closer to the ground, they understand the sentiments of the people and shall be able to respond accordingly,” Galvez explained.
And with the recent spate of NPA attacks, Galvez said LPEs will help al government’s quest for lasting peace, eradicate poverty, improve social conditions and achieve inclusive development.
“LPEs will not only give us an opportunity to engage all stakeholders in the peace process, but more importantly, encourage the people to play a more active role in protecting their communities. They must realize they have the power in their hands to do so,” he said. ###