The New People’s Army launched a series of armed offensives in various parts of the country against the mercenary troops of the Marcos II regime in the second half of August. These resulted in the death of at least seven elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police, and the wounding of several others. The successful NPA offensives belie claims by the Manila government of these regions as ‘insurgency-free’.

The NPA-Surigao del Sur in Mindanao Island set up an armed checkpoint on 30 August in the village of Libas Gua, San Miguel town in Surigao del Sur province, to thwart the PNP of Tago town in its planned ‘Simultaneous Anti-Criminality Law Enforcement Operations’ against the civilian population. PNP intelligence officers aboard an unmarked car approached the NPA checkpoint. Instead of stopping however, they opened fire at the Red fighters who in turn fired back. The vehicle was damaged, but the PNP elements were able to escape on foot.

Earlier that day, a soldier of the AFP 75th Infantry Battalion approached the NPA checkpoint on a motorcycle. The AFP soldier panicked and fell from his vehicle. He was able to run away, however, grabbing a child hostage along the way.

Sandara Sidlakan, NPA-Surigao del Sur spokesperson, said the PNP’s so-called SACLEO is a scam to perpetrate illegal searches, illegal arrests, extortion, harassment and extrajudicial killings against the civilian population. PNP agents routinely ‘discover’ weapons, bullets and explosives in searches of village homes. Sidlakan said these SACLEOs sow terror among the civilian population and must be stopped.

Meanwhile, in Pio Duran town, Albay province, the NPA Santos Binamera Command of Albay ambushed the combined troops of the AFP 31st and 49th Infantry Battalion in the afternoon of 31 August. At least two AFP troopers died and an undetermined number wounded while there were no casualties among the NPA Red fighters.

According to the NPA-Albay, the AFP units were rampaging and sowing terror among the rural communities of Pio Duran and Donsol town, Sorsogon province in the previous three weeks before they were ambushed.

More recently, on 1 September, two elements of the PNP Special Action Force were confirmed dead while an undetermined number were wounded in an armed encounter with Red fighters of the NPA-Nueva Ecija in the boundary towns of Gabaldon and Gen. Tinio in Nueva Ecija province. The NPA suffered no casualty. The PNP-SAF unit was part of a combined operation with the AFP 91st and 84th Infantry Battalion.

On 30 August, Red fighters of the NPA Central Negros Front besieged the encampment of the AFP 62nd Infantry Battalion in Trinidad village, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental province. JB Regalado, NPA Central Negros Front spokesperson, said the armed offensive resulted in the death of two soldiers and wounding of another.