ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) continued in many areas in Mindanao as the communist group launched more attacks after the collapse of peace talks with the Duterte administration.
While the military offensives went on, NPA rebels abducted two policemen–Police Officer (PO)2 John Paul Doberte and his partner PO2 Alfredo Degamon Jr.–in daring assault in Placer town in Surigao del Norte.
The two policemen were guarding their post when the rebels arrived in two vans and abducted them last Monday.
The vehicles, believed to have been commandeered by the communist guerrillas, were later found in Barangay Mabini, also in Placer.
The policemen are still missing.
The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), had been abducting policemen and soldiers, tagging them as prisoners of war.
Its leaders have repeatedly warned they will strike hard against government forces after President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped the peace negotiations with the CPP over the NPA’s offensives across the country.
Earlier this month, NPA hitmen murdered a policeman in Davao at Barangay New Valencia, Tugbok district.
The rebels also killed a policeman and a four-month old infant and wounded five others in a recent ambush in Bukidnon province.
The NPA later apologized for the killing of the baby and said the incident was “a painful occurrence which was unforeseen.”
It described the attack against the policemen as successful.”
But the 403rd Infantry Brigade on Thursday accused the NPA of spreading lies and lame words in its bid to justify its lawlessness and banditry when it ambushed the policemen and civilians.
“The lies that are being spread by a certain Malem Mabini, a fake name used by a person who obviously does not have the decency and the guts to make himself accountable for his statements, start with making people believe that their group flagged down two civilian vehicles tailing the PNP [Philippine National Police] patrol car so that the civilians onboard would evade… being injured in the crime that they were about to commit.”
“Unfortunately, there were no such two vehicles. There was only the Toyota Fortuner, which was tailing the PNP patrol car. Most important, said civilian vehicle was not flagged down nor stopped by a so-called NPA blocking force. Otherwise, the driver would have stopped the vehicle in fear upon seeing unidentified armed men flagging their vehicle down in an isolated part of that Cagayan de Oro-Dominorog-Kalilangan road,” Tagros said in a statement sent to The Manila Times.
He mentioned other attacks by rebels in Bukidnon–burning of three boom harvesters and one skidder owned by Del Monte Philippines Inc. in the village of Patpat in Malaybalay City on March 20, 2017; raiding of Maharlika Vic Lao Farm; and stealing of two shotguns and about 120 Peking ducks in the village of Tawas in Kitaotao town on June 29, 2017.
Burning of DOLE Palletizing Plant and indiscriminate firing at Sitio Gabunan in Barangay Casisang, Malaybalay City on September 6, 2017; raiding of Sumifro Repolidon Compound in Barangay Tugaya, Valencia City on September 9, 2017; and murdering Barangay Councilman Romeo Bantilan Jr. at his residence in Barangay White Kulaman, Kitaotao town on October 8, 2017;
Attack on Davco Compound and burning of several equipment in Sitio Rang-ay in Barangay Merangeran, Quezon, on October 8, 2017; and the burning of DOLE Portable Banana Processor in Sitio Santa Cruz in Barangay Casisan, Malaybalay City on November 3, 2017.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., newly-installed commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), vowed to address extortion activities by the NPA and called for community support, particularly from the indigenous people (IP).
On Wednesday, he assumed the EastMinCom’s top post, replacing Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, who was appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
WITH Dempsey Reyes