8th ID's eight-month ravaging of Samar island

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The 8th ID recently bragged of deploying nine battalions or more than 2,700 soldiers in the island of Samar and of using advanced military equipment in an eight-month focused military operation from January to August. It supposedly aims to crush or weaken the New People’s Army (NPA) in the island and pursue “known personalities” of the Party.

What it brought to the Samareños, in fact, was wanton destruction in the form of militarization or occupation of communities, hamlets, harassment, illegal arrests and murder of peasant and minority people in Northern, Eastern and Western Samar.

The gravest of these crimes is the murder of two children in Barangay Roxas, Catubig, Northern Samar on February 8.

Two incidents of murder of four elderly and sick retired cadres of the revolutionary movement were also recorded. These include the 87th IB’s murders of couple Rodrigo Mejica Lorezo (Ka Akag) and Delia Rosco Rotalano (Ka Mema) at their home in Barangay Galutan, San Jose de Buan, Western Samar on August 7.

The 8th ID mounted at least three series of aerial bombings during this period. A Super Tucano plane dropped six bombs on a farm in Barangay Bay-ang, San Jorge, Western Samar on August 1. On July 7, communities along the San Jose de Buan and San Jorge border were also bombed, shelled and strafed.

During the eight-month operation, two peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines were illegally arrested.

Military occupation of communities is also prevalent. There are also not a few cases of hamlets or population control. Farming and economic activities are restricted or time-bound. Limits are set on the amount of rice and food residents can buy.

In the face of the enemy’s intensified military operations, the NPA continues to defend the masses in the countryside.

NPA units in the island launched at least 20 tactical offensives from February to August. At least 18 soldiers were killed and 27 wounded in these tactical offensives. An NPA unit also torched an abandoned army camp in a village.

8th ID's eight-month ravaging of Samar island