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Palace condemns alleged 'robbing' of relief goods by NPA in Samar

Malacañang has denounced the alleged robbing of relief goods by members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Northern and Eastern Samar. 

In a press statement issued on Sunday afternoon, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo stated the Office of the President understands that some communist rebels need to acquire food and other basic necessities for their own survival. However, Panelo underscored that these items should not be obtained through violent actions. 

"Resorting to force or duress is unconscionable, especially given the national crisis we are in," Panelo said. 

"In this time of state of calamity and public health emergency, we call on those operating outside of the law not to add burden to the very people they professed to fight for," he added. 

Last week, the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division claimed that more or less 30 suspected members of the NPA went to Sitio Bangon in Barangay Guinmayohan in Balangiga and forcibly took relief goods intended for residents in the area. 

The military cited reports of witnesses saying that barangay officials were distributing relief packs to the affected families last April 7 when the communists had allegedly took some of the relief items. 

According to the military, the communists were supposedly taking advantage of the present health crisis. 

"This is a time to help our people and not to add to their burden. What the NPA did is pure robbery during the Holy Week. These terrorists who believe in no god robbed the poor people of their food in this time of COVID-19 crisis," Colonel Camilo Ligayo, commander of the 801st Infantry Brigade, said. 

Ligayo assured the public that government troops would do their duties in ensuring peace and order in the society. 

"We condemn this dastardly act of the NPA in Northern and Eastern Samar, and we assure our people that your soldiers will bring these criminals to justice. To the NPA, stop oppressing the people," he added. 

Panelo then said should these rebels persist in their "anti-nationalistic and unchristian acts, the constituted authorities shall repulse them at every turn." —Anna Felicia Bajo/KG, GMA News