WITH rebels mounting attacks in their town at will, Mayor Mariano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo appealed to the military to free the municipality from the grip of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Malones made the appeal days after NPA members ambushed a team from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) at Sitio Camansi, Barangay Bolo on Nov. 24, 2017.
Police Officer 1 (PO1) Joefel Odon died in the clash while 13 battalion members were injured after the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by the rebels went off.
Malones directed his appeal to the Army and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
He said the incident disrepute the peace and order environment and adversely affected the local tourism sector of the town which is located more or less 30 kilometers from Iloilo City.
“We have three resorts in the town and many guests have cancelled their bookings,” the mayor said in a radio interview.
The town’s Children Festival on Nov 25 was also cancelled because of the attack.
A dental mission scheduled this week was also postponed due to security concerns.
Malones said he and the municipal social welfare and development officer (MSWDO) visited the affected barangay a day after the ambush.
Last week’s ambush is the second NPA incursion in the town.
On July 18, the rebels raided the Maasin Police Station in broad daylight.
Malones said that if they successfully cleared the town of illegal drugs, they can also realize an insurgency-free Maasin.
Six of the town’s 50 barangays are believed to be infested by the NPA.
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