FROM the hinterlands of Panay Island, members of the New People’s Army (NPA) plan to expand their attacks in Iloilo City.
This is the scenario being painted by text messages which went viral since Nov. 28, 2017, a week after NPA members ambushed police officers based in Antique and Iloilo provinces.
The text message states (unedited): “Received from reliable source. Positive ang report halin sa Leon, deployment of Npa SPARU hitmen sa Barangay Sto. Niño Sur, Sooc, Calaparan, Calumpang, Timawa, North Baluarte. Members aging from 19 – 35 years old ang mga npa hitman, financed by alleged chinese business man and his filipina wife residing in Leon with their chicken farm at the said area. Please exercise personal safety and situational awareness everytime. (for info)”
Barangays Sto. Niño Sur and So-oc are in Arevalo district while the other villages are in Molo.
SPARU refers to the Special Partisan Unit, believed to be the special assassination squad of the NPA that preys on law enforcers, government officials, and government assets.
Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas, Iloilo City police chief, said he received the same text message from a civilian friend.
“When I asked for his source, he told me it was just also a forwarded message,” he added.
But Biñas said their intelligence report has not indicated the presence of the SPARU in Iloilo City.
“The report is not validated. That’s why, we asked the public not to create panic by not spreading the message anymore,” he said.
But even if there is no validated threat from the NPA’s hit squad, Biñas said they have been monitoring personalities with possible links to the rebel group.
Senior Inspector Shella Mae Sangrines, Iloilo City police spokesperson, appealed to the public “to immediately report any suspicious persons or activities in your barangay in our hotline numbers 09083770194 or 337-0400.”
Sangrines underscored that security and safety should be everybody’s concern.
“We cannot afford to compromise the peace and order situation of our beloved city. ICPO will be doing its best but we need your support, cooperation and prayers on this matter,” she added.
The NPA has claimed responsibility for the attacks on police officers in Sibalom, Antique on Nov 22 and in Maasin, Iloilo on Nov 24.
The Maasin ambush resulted in the death of a police officer and wounded 13 others.
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