CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Four police officers were wounded in a firefight with about 100 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who attacked the police station of Binuangan town in Misamis Oriental before dawn on Sunday.
Senior Supt. Rolando Destura, Misamis Oriental police provincial director, identified the wounded as Senior Insp. Dante Hallasgo, Binuangan police chief, Police Officer (PO)3 Alberto Bernadas, PO1 Ramonito Sambas and PO1 Joshua Satur.
Destura said the police officers led by Hallasgo defended their station against the communist rebels and engaged them into a firefight that lasted for about two hours.
Soldiers and policemen responded and brought the wounded to the hospital who were declared out of danger.
An augmentation team of the Philippine Army was dispatched to track down the rebels who withdrew on a commandeered vehicle toward the hinterlands of Binuangan.
According to Destura, the police on duty sounded the station’s alarm bell at about 2 a.m. when he noticed the approaching unidentified armed men wearing combat uniforms. The rebels then fired indiscriminately at the police station hitting two police vehicles and destroyed the station’s windows and walls, prompting the policemen to retaliate.
Sensing that the police effectively defending the police station, the rebels commandeered a vehicle and fled.
Destura said the rebels have established blocking forces along the boundaries of Salay town in the southwest and Sugbongcogon town in the northeast stranding passenger vehicles plying the Cagayan De Oro-Butuan City route and vice versa.
The police suspected that the rebels would also ransack the town hall after disabling the town’s police station.
Binuangan is a coastal town 73 kilometers northeast of Cagayan de Oro City. The police station is located very the municipal town hall.
Meanwhile, Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano expressed alarm over the NPA assault and alerted all city and town police officers to adopt higher security measures to preempt any possible attacks not only on government establishments.
Emano said that the rebels might launch attacks anytime, anywhere in the province following Proclamation 360, declaring the termination of peace negotiations with leaders of the Communist Part of the Philippines-National Democratic Front.
The communist group’s stepped up attacks also resulted in the killing of a town councilor in Cagayan and a policeman of Labo town in Camarines Norte on Saturday.
Councilor Angelo Figueras Luis, 56, of Baggao town was killed by about 20 armed men inside his house in Barangay Awallan. The NPA’s Henry Abraham East Cagayan Command has claimed responsibility for the killing of Luis for “being an undercover agent of the military in Cagayan Valley.”
In Labo, Camarines Norte, the rebels ambushed a two-vehicle convoy of the Philippine National Police that killed Police Officer (PO)2 Richard Abad and wounded six other policemen belonging to the provincial mobile force company.