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On anniversary, NPA rebs attack Good Friday rite in Butuan, kill Cafgu man

March 29, 2013 1:26pm
(Updated 5 p.m.) Nearly everything else stops on Good Friday except religious rituals and war.

Communist guerillas attacked government troops securing a Holy Week activity in Butuan City, resulting in the death of one member of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu), authorities said.

1Lt. Joe Patrick Martinez, commanding officer of the Army's 42nd Civil Military Operations Company, tagged the Guerilla Front 21C of the New People's Army (NPA) as the alleged perpetrators in the incident.

The attack occurred on the 44th anniversary of the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Citing reports from the field, Martinez said the civilians, along with several military and police personnel, were conducting "Panaad 2013" or Stations of the Cross at about 5 a.m. in Brgy. Alcala when the guerillas fired on them.

“These NPAs disrespected the solemnity of the stations of the cross," an Army statement quoted Rev. Fr. Joesilo Amalla, parish priest of St. Joseph Cathedral, as saying. "They don’t know when to stop fighting."

Amalla was presiding over the activity, which, according to Martinez, was attended by "[t]housands of people... including police and military personnel."

Martinez withheld the identity of the slain Cafgu member pending notification of his family.

Lt Col Potenciano C. Camba, chief of the Army's 3rd Special Forces Battalion, has already sent troops to the area for reinforcement, although he was quoted in the Army statement as saying that "[t]his is not the time and place for fighting."

Camba said the NPA "cannot celebrate their anniversary without inflicting casualties."

Amalla, for his part, condemned the attack. “Why do they (NPA) attack us?" he said. "They should submit themselves to our God and repent for their sins. I will pray for the soul of our soldier who died while protecting us.”

In a statement on its anniversary, the CPP ordered the NPA to "carry forward the people's democratic revolution."

"This entails the NPA encircling the cities from the countryside, making the enemy bleed from many wounds and accumulating military strength until it gains the capability of seizing the cities nationwide," it said.

It also ordered the "strike forces" of the NPA to "carry out ambushes, raids and other disarming operations at an accelerated rate and with short rest periods. They must wage only the battles that they are capable of winning. They must target the stationary and moving weak points of the enemy." --- KBK/YA/HS, GMA News
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