The New People's Army mounted 11 tactical offensives in the central Philippine provinces of Samar, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Sorsogon from 15 to 29 July, challenging President Rodrigo Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address which he delivered on 26 July. The Communist Party of the Philippines said initial field reports indicate that Duterte’s armed forces sustained 30 casualties with at least 26 killed.
In Northern Samar province, the NPA mounted an ambush against Duterte’s armed security forces on 23 July in San Isidro town, killing 11 soldiers. On the same day, the NPA ambushed another armed enemy unit in Catarman town. On the day of Duterte’s SONA on 26 July, an NPA sniper unit killed a police officer and wounded another in Catubig town. The guerrilla forces had an armed encounter with the same police unit on 10 July in the villages of Anongo and Hitapian, where two police officers were wounded. On 29 July, the NPA ambushed a company of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Las Navas town, killing an officer and wounding two others.
The NPA mounted the tactical offensives despite the enemy's focused military operations in the area, lasting already for half a year. Under the guise of the ‘Retooled Community Support Program’, Duterte’s armed security forces have been harassing the residents of 25 rural villages, forcing them to ‘surrender’.
The CPP also reported that in two armed clashes on 20 and 21 July in the town of Candoni, Negros Occidental province, five elements of the AFP were killed. On 22 July, in an encounter in Kabankalan City of the same province, the guerrilla forces killed three AFP soldiers. In the adjoining province of Negros Oriental, in Guihulngan City, the NPA-Central Negros mounted a harassment operation against an armed civilian auxiliary unit of the AFP on 21 July.
In Sorsogon province, the local NPA unit launched a sniping operation on 21 July against an armed checkpoint of the Philippine National Police in Bulan town, killing an officer of the PNP Provincial Mobile Force.
The NPA tactical offensives were aimed at punishing the armed security forces of the Duterte government who continue to perpetrate killings and suppression campaigns against the unarmed civilian population in rural Philippines.