The encounter between government troops and a band of NPA rebels last July 12 and 13 was an attempt on the part of the latter to disrupt an ongoing community support program (CSP) of the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde) in Barangay Nicanor Zabala, Roxas, according to its commander, Col. Jimmy D. Larida.
Larida told Palawan News the rebels had planted an improvised explosive device (IED) along the route that the marine troopers were taking on their way back to camp after a CSP activity.
The incident resulted in a firefight and prompted a military pursuit operation that lasted two days. No casualty figures were reported but both sides claimed they exacted losses against the other side.
Larida criticized the NPA group for endangering the indigenous community in the area where they had planted a roadside explosive.
“Alam nila na ang lugar ay daanan din ng mga katutubo, pero para makamit lang ang masamang balak sa mga tropa ng pamahalaan ay handa sila maski pa ang mapapahamak ay mga sibilyan. Paano kung ang mga dumaan ay mga inosenteng sibilyan o mga katutubo? Malamang sila ang napahamak o nasaktan,” Larida said.
Larida also said the NPA’s harassment activity against government troopers was prompted by the effects of their operations that constraint their movements in the areas where they operate.
“Nahihirapan na ang teroristang grupong NPA sa kabundukan dahil halos lahat na ng lugar na kanilang pinupuntahan ay may mga mamamayan na nagsusumbong sa militar ng kanilang presensya. Ito ay patunay lamang na wala nang tiwala at naniniwala sa kanilang ipinaglalaban kaya marapat lamang na sila ay bumaba na sa kabundukan,” he said.