DILG slams rebel attack on health workers, cops on Covid transport mission in Samar

- Jonathan L. Mayuga

DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año on Tuesday condemned the Communist Party of the Philippine­s-new People’s Army-national Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) for the alleged attack on a convoy of local health workers and policemen who were on their way to transport Covid-19 vaccines to Palo, Leyte, last week.

Año was referring to an incident involving the Calbayog City Health Office staff escorted by Calbayog City Police Station personnel last July 27. The health workers and the policemen were on their way to the Department of Health Regional Office 8 in Palo, Leyte, when communist rebels reportedly attacked them.

“The CPP-NPA-NDF’S height of insensitiv­ity, callousnes­s, and opportunis­m knows no bounds. Wala na talaga silang pinipiling tao, lugar, o sitwasyon para pumatay at maghasik ng terorismo. Patunay lang ito na sila ay kaaway ng bayan at walang malasakit sa mga mamamayan dahil kahit ang ating mga medical frontliner­s na kukuha sana ng bakuna ay tinambanga­n nila,” the DILG chief stressed.

Año lauded the police escort for ensuring the safety and security of the health workers as they fend off the attackers, reportedly forcing them to retreat. The attackers allegedly detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) and attacked the convoy while traversing the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Lale, Pinabacdao, Samar.

To ensure the smooth and efficient rollout of the vaccines in the communitie­s, Año said, he had directed the Philippine National Police to assign additional personnel during Covid-19 vaccinatio­n operations. “I’ve already directed our police to deploy more men to protect our Covid-19 teams especially in areas where there are communist threats,” Año said.

DILG Undersecre­tary and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conf lict spokesman Jonathan Malaya called on the public to immediatel­y report sightings of communist terrorist groups in their localities to local authoritie­s.

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