• Military heightens alert vs NPA offensives

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    SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The Armed Forces of the Philippines have placed all military camps in Central Mindanao, particularly in North and South Cotabato, on heightened alert following intensified offensives by communist rebels on military targets.

    Capt. Silver Belvis, speaking for the 39th Infantry Battalion based in North Cotabato, said New Peoples Army (NPA) hitmen killed an off-duty militiaman belonging to Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) in the communist infested Arakan town.

    Belvis identified the slain militiaman as Angelito Lamana who was killed in his house in Barangay Tumanding on Wednesday.

    “He was hog-tied before he was shot dead,” Belvis added.

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    Lamana, assigned at a Cafgu detachment in Salasang area of Barangay Tumanding, was the third member of Cafgu killed since last month.

    Belvis tagged the assailants of Lamana as the communist rebels under Guerilla Front 53.

    The NPAs are active in the village and continue to allegedly enforce “protection money and revolutionary taxes” from the residents.

    On September 20, the rebels ambushed and killed another Cafgu member Joel Batawan in Barangay Santo Niño, also in Arakan.

    Three days prior, the NPA also shot dead militiaman Jeffrey Bitonio in Barangay Anapolon in the same town.

    Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Franklin Alberto, South Cotabato provincial police director, said they are looking at the involvement of the NPAs in the murder of Police Officer 2 Charlie Liva in Tupi, South Cotabato last Thursday.

    Liva was driving his motorcycle en route to General Santos City when gunmen, in separate motorbike, shot him in the head and body along the highway in the town.

    Earlier, the NPA rebels said it will launch tactical offensives after the Marawi City siege when President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the military will shift to offensives versus the communist rebels particularly in Mindanao.

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