BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The provincial government of Mountain Province mobilized on Tuesday some 3,000 residents in an indignation rally condemning the recent “atrocious” attack by communist rebels which left a police trainee dead and nine others wounded.
Gathered at the provincial plaza in Bontoc capital town, the provincial leadership said the protestors were composed of students, local and village officials, local government workers as well as ordinary folks.
Protestors had with them placards expressing anti-communist sentiments.
They first assembled at Mountain Province General Comprehensive High School ground at 8 a.m.
A parade around the town center followed suit before they converged at the provincial plaza where a program was held.
”They were there to express their anger on the atrocious ambush of the unarmed police trainees on Friday,” said Gov. Leonard Mayaen of Mountain Province.
Mayaen has led the protest action against the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels “whose recent atrocities has marred the province’s generally peaceful condition.”
“I’m sure we are all against the NPA rebels, otherwise we will maintain that idea that Mountain Province is an NPA-infested province,” Mayaen said.
On Friday, the rebel ambush resulted in the killing of Police Officer 1 (PO1) Denver Balabag.
Immediately after the incident, Mayaen in a memorandum enjoined all local and village officials as well as local government employees to attend yesterday’s indignation rally to express strong disapproval of the recent NPA atrocities in their area.
Wounded in the ambush were Police Insp. Melinium Bantas and PO1s Alexander Dulnuan, Junete Ngalawen, Jasmine Salve, Jefferson Sari, Edison Waguis, Mitchell Malubon, Pawas Daketan and Robin Benito, all from the Cordillera regional public safety battalion.
They were on their regular morning jogging unarmed in athletic attire when the rebels fired at them.
They were among the 95 policemen, including 70 women doing their physical conditioning as part of their anti-insurgency training course when they were ambushed along the road in Cabunagan about 5:45 a.m.
Sr. Supt. Davy Limmong, regional police spokesman of Mountain Province said that for many years now, nothing like this has happened.
“Everyone knows that for so many years, we have had no ambuscades in this area. The area is secured by the Army and our patrols. I can even say that we are almost in the very center of the town that is why we were not expecting this to happen,” Limmong said.
Colonel Loreto Magundayao, chief of the civilian-military operations battalion of the Army’s Isabela-based 5th Infantry Division, said that Mayor Athony Wooden of Tadian town where the ambush took place led the rally with the governor.