Bicol on full alert amid NPA attacks
LEGAZPI CITY — A full alert status had been declared for the police and military in Bicol after suspected communist rebels attacked police stations in Sorsogon and Camarines Sur provinces on Monday night, wounding four policemen and a civilian.
In Magallanes town, Sorsogon, PO1 Rolan Geul, PO1 Sonny Son Estera and PO1 Melvin Bartolata and a resident, identified only as “Luigi,” were wounded after suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels fired at the police station in Poblacion at 7:30 p.m., said Supt. Alejandro Monge II, spokesperson for the provincial police.
They were in stable condition at Magallanes Medicare Hospital in Magallanes and Sorsogon Medical Mission Group Hospital in Sorsogon City.
‘Show of force’
Earlier on Monday night, suspected rebels fired at the detachment of the police’s 3rd Maneuver Platoon at Barangay San Ignacio in Gubat town, said Chief Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib, spokesperson for the Bicol police.
Another group of suspected rebels also fired at a police detachment at Barangay Cristo Rey in Bato town, at 8:30 p.m. Armed men also strafed another detachment at Barangay Panoypoyan in Bula town, at 9:15 p.m. A policeman, PO1 Francisco Santiago, was wounded, Calubaquib said.
She said no additional policemen were sent to Camarines Sur and Sorsogon, but police were asked to be on standby to respond to possible threats in their areas.
Capt. Josh Pramis, public affairs chief of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, said the attacks were “a show of force to highlight the NPA war against the government.”
The rebels were “desperate to score points so they launched the offensives,” he said, adding that these were the rebels’ “modus operandi to gain [in the] propaganda war.”
Citing military intelligence reports, Ariel Bernardo, regional director of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, said the NPA was intensifying its offensives in Sorsogon, Camarines Norte and Masbate.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was guest during the Regional Peace and Order Council meeting here on Tuesday, said the government was ready to stop the rebels.
In Laguna province, members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Southern Tagalog staged a lightning rally on Tuesday in Sta. Rosa City.
The march, held a week before the Communist Party of the Philippines marks its 50th founding anniversary, featured a street performance about the communist movement’s history.
The presentation highlighted the “struggles” of farmers, workers and the urban poor in the region. Among the issues raised were the massive land conversion in Cavite, Batangas and Quezon and contractualization of workers in the region where factories and processing zones operate. —With reports from Suzene Cajegas and Maricar Cinco
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