THE RECENT attacks and harassments perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Visayas are just diversionary tactics, the country’s top cop said.
PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said the series of NPA atrocities in the Visayas are part of a bigger plan in Mindanao.
“Itong ginagawa nilang pang-gugulo sa Visayas, diversionary nila ito para hindi tayo tututok doon banda sa Mindanao,” dela Rosa said evening of Nov 29, 2017 when he visited the wake of Police Officer 1 (PO1) Joefel Odon at Cabatuan, Iloilo.
Odon, a member of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion, was killed in the Nov 24 encounter with NPA members in Maasin, Iloilo. The incident also wounded 13 other policemen.
“Actually, ang plano nila na malaki nandoon sa Mindanao. They will divert our attention in the Visayas so that our forces will spread. Hindi na maka-tutok doon,” he added.
Dela Rosa did not go into details of the NPA’s alleged plans in Mindanao.
But instead of deploying their forces in the Visayas to Mindanao, he said police units will stay put in their respective areas.
In fact, “we will add forces here (Western Visayas) to prevent NPAs from doing more atrocities,” he added.
Dela Rosa declined to issue a statement to the NPAs.
“Ano pa ba ang dapat sabihin sa kanila? We can’t tell them to stop doing ambuscades because that’s there bread and butter,” he said.
Aside from doing ambush operations, dela Rosa scored the NPAs for their alleged extortion activities, threats and deceptions.
“I don’t want to talk to them,” he stated.
Based on the series of atrocities, dela Rosa said the NPA is the main threat to Western Visayas.
“But as I’ve said, the atrocities they’re doing here are part of their main design in Mindanao,” he added.
Aside from the Maasin encounter, policemen also clashed with rebels on Nov. 22 in Sibalom, Antique.
Four policemen were hurt when the NPAs again used improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Hours before the ambush, suspected NPAs also harassed a military detachment at Barangay Bulalacao, Sibalom, more or less 2 to 3 kilometers from Bontol village.
Recently, the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon Panay suffered a big blow after three of its leaders were killed in an encounter on Nov 7 in Cuartero, Capiz.
One of the fatalities was Remy Beraye, a former student leader and resident of Barangay Baldoza, La Paz, Iloilo.
Beraye used to be the chairman of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) at West Visayas State University – Main Campus in La Paz.
Aside from Beraye, the other fatalities were Fedirico Diaz of Barangay Mahabang Sapa, Cuartero, Capiz and Allan Lerona alias Felizardo Cerilo of Mambusao, Capiz.
The three were alleged members of the NPA’s Nonito Aguirre Sr. Command.
Diaz (alias Val/Bansoy) and Allan Lerona (alias Bong), are the alleged vice commanding officer and finance logistics officer, respectively, of the Sangay Partido sa Platon (SPP) of the NPA’s Eastern Front Committee-KRP.
Armed clashes also happened in Janiuay and Maasin towns in Iloilo in October.
The rebels also claimed responsibility for the attack on a quarry site in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental on Nov 26.
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