The New People’s Army in Abra province, in the Cordillera Region, launched a tactical offensive against units of the 72nd Division Reconnaissance Company of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on 4 January 2021 in Pacqued village, Malibcong. Nine AFP soldiers, including their commander 2nd Lt. Zaldy Lapis, Jr., were killed and several others were wounded.
According to Florencio Baluga, spokesperson of the NPA-Abra Agustin Begnalen Command, the Red fighters operated “with speed, secrecy and surprise” against the exhausted enemy unit which had been scouring the area since 22 December 2020.
Baluga said that Duterte’s armed troops issued the false claim in November that they were “close to eradicating” the revolutionary forces in Northern Luzon. The military had been trying to facilitate the entry of largescale mining companies and hydroelectric dam projects in the Binongan, Tineg and Abra rivers. The armed units dispatched to the area serve as company guards, said Baluga, meant to quell resistance of the communities defending their ancestral lands.
Armed units of the 72nd DRC had been occupying the indigenous communities. Residents were made to suffer illegal arrests and detention, forced ‘surrenders’ and harassment. On 5 and 7 January, the AFP used newly-acquired Super Tucano bomber planes and dropped at least 23 bombs in the area, destroying forest vegetation and farm lots near Pacqued and Mataragan in Malibcong and Buneg in Lacub town.
On 12 December 2020, the NPA ambushed soldiers of the AFP 902nd Infantry Brigade in Baay, Labo town Camarines Norte province. The AFP soldiers had been besieging the community still reeling from the impact of successive typhoons.
The Red fighters were able to seize two 9mm Glock pistols from eight backpacks of the enemy troops.
In Samar island, NPA forces launched successive tactical offensives in late 2020 against the fascist troops of the AFP and Philippine National Police. On 10 December, the NPA Arnulfo Ortiz Command ambushed a police patrol car in Marabut town, Samar province, killing Police Capt. Earl Hembro.
The Red fighters declared that this tactical offensive was a slap on the face of the AFP-PNP Inter Agency Task Force Sabama which announced that it had dismantled the NPA in Samar. Duterte armed troops had been conducting terror operations in Samar villages from March to October 2020.
Earlier in October 2020, the AFP 19th Infantry Battalion suffered five casualties due to the harassment operations of the NPA in Northern and Western Samar.
The NPA declared, “The masses still give the NPA deep and wide support so it can launch tactical offensives at will!”