The peace and order council of Balangiga town has issued a resolution condemning the communist New People’s Army (NPA) for “relief goods confiscation.”

The resolution, dated April 13, said the rebels forced residents of Sitio Bangon, Barangay Guinmaayohan to give them half a sack of rice, but added that news reports claiming that a robbery or raid took place might have been exaggerated.

The council’s move came after the Eastern Samar News Service or ESTE News published a story in which Balangiga officials, including the municipal police, denied that NPA rebels had robbed residents of Barangay Guinmaayohan of relief goods distributed by local officials last April 7.

READ: Balangiga officials deny reports of NPAs seizing relief goods

ESTE News sought to verify a press release from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reporting the supposed “robbery,” which was published first by government news outlets and then picked up by news websites.

AFP officials met with the Balangiga Municipal Peace and Order Council on April 13 to clarify the matter, the council resolution said.

“The AFP officials stated that the word ‘robbery’ or ‘forcibly taken’ may have been too strong in describing what happened but the fact remains that the residents were forced a portion of their relief (half sack of rice) to the NPA,” it said.

The resolution noted that the municipal council of Balangiga had deemed members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA and the National Democratic Front “persona non grata,” and that they had been declared terrorists by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Malacañang on Sunday condemned the NPA for its actions in Balangiga, saying the rebels caused a “shortage” of the relief goods given to residents. (