Members of the New People’s Army (NPA) victimized by typhoon “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) can receive aid from the government, a military official said Saturday.

Maj. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, head of the Army 10th Infantry Division’s civil-military operations company, said it is possible that some rebels fell victim to devastation because the storm passed through Compostela Valley, a province where the NPA is known to operate.

Kapag pumila sila (rebels) para kumuha ng relief goods, we will not choose kung member ba sila ng NPA o civilian, we are all Filipinos after all,” Obligado said in a phone interview.

In a statement issued Saturday, the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command (SMROC) said a number of its fighters suffered when “Pablo” struck the region on Dec. 4.

“As winds raged fiercely striking houses and timbers, NPA members were with the masses trying to survive from the devastation. A number of Red fighters were hurt, few seriously harmed but no fatalities were reported from the field,” the statement read.

“Six hours after the typhoon, NPA members surveyed their immediate vicinities, attended to the grieving revolutionary forces who were widowed or orphaned, helped in the rescue efforts, and shared the unit’s foodstuffs supply to the masses,” it added.

Obligado, however, said that the military has so far not monitored any effect of “Pablo” on the rebels.

“We are quite busy with the rescue, relief, and rehabilitation activities, these three Rs mean that we lay down our guns and pick up shovels,” he said.

The NPA-SMROC, meanwhile, said its forces will suspend offensive operations against government forces not only in typhoon-wrecked Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, but also in Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lingig in Surigao del Sur, as well as Trento, Veruela, Loreto, and Sta. Josefa towns in Agusan del Sur.

“The NPA Southern Mindanao’s ceasefire coverage is extended to other parts of the region not directly hit by the tragedy to enable its NPA units to muster all efforts in addressing the state of acute crisis,” it said. (John Roson)

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