The troops from the Army’s 91st Infantry Battalion were securing the said area as the personnel of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distribute the cash aid from the government’s Social Amelioration Program.
The Public Information Office of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division reported the NPA rebels opened fire at the soldiers who are on their way to Diaat in Aurora. The attack killed one soldier at the scene while the other died later at a hospital.
The troops returned fire and exchanged fires with the rebels for about an hour.
Lt. Col. Andrew Rubio, acting commanding officer of the 91st IB, condemned the attack and criticized the NPA for spreading violence in a community that is facing the COVID-19 crisis.
“I am very proud of my soldiers, they are among our modern heroes,” said Brig Gen. Alfredo V. Rosario, 7th ID commander.
“For their acts, they will be forever remembered,” Rosario said.
“Sooner or later, we will catch these bandits, and for sure, they will pay for the crimes they have committed,” he said.
NPA attacks amid ceasefire, COVID-19 crisis
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said March 29 that NPA would not honor the ceasefire President Rodrigo Duterte had asked following the clash in Rizal.
“The New People’s Army has made it clear that they will not honor their ceasefire declaration at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 28,” Santos said in a statement.
“This attack on our people throws away their so-called “humanitarian principles” and expose the exploitative nature of their ceasefire declaration,” he added.
An NPA gunman and a government soldier were killed Philippine Army Community Support Program (CSP) Team, and communist insurgents clashed in Barangay Puray in Rodriguez.
The attack also wounded two more soldiers who were now in stable condition.
“They were planning to celebrate their anniversary on March 29 with a bang,” Santos said.
On March 18, the government declared a ceasefire with the NPA as the country prioritizes fighting the deadly virus. The Communist Party of the Philippines agreed on March 25.