PNP blames NPA for Iloilo bombing; rebels just making it appear they’re still strong
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has blamed communist rebel group New People’s Army (NPA) for the bombing in Tubungan town of Iloilo, which injured two police officers.
In a statement on Tuesday, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar however dismissed the recent attacks as a mere strategy to show that the rebels are still strong — which he said would then be used as a leverage for their extortion activities amid the election season.
In line with this, Eleazar said that he has directed unit commanders to remain alert and continue their operations against NPA rebels to ensure a peaceful elections in 2022.
“The NPA attack that resulted to the wounding of two of our policemen is certainly a strategy being employed to make it appear that they are still strong and eventually use as a leverage for their extortion activities to candidates for the next year’s election,” he said.
“Dahil dito, inatasan ko na ang lahat ng ating mga unit commanders na maging alerto at lalo pang paigtingin ang mga operasyon laban sa mga CPP-NPA-NDF upang hindi sila mabigyan ng pagkakataon na magkamal ng pera na patuloy nilang gagamitin sa recruitment at sa pagsasagawa ng karahasan,” he added.
(Because of this, I have tasked all our unit commanders to be alert and intensify their operations against the CPP-NPA-NDF so that they cannot be given a chance to amass money which would they use for recruitment and terrorism.)
According to Eleazar, police personnel from the Iloilo Police Mobile Force Company were harassed by members of NPA’s Southern Front Komite – Komiteng Rehiyon Panay in Tubungan’s Barangay Mayang.
The police unit then launched pursuit operations which resulted in an encounter. But as the rebels were escaping, they detonated two improvised explosive devices (IED), which then resulted in the injury of Pat. Jessie Castamado and P/Cpl. Genel Simpas.
Castamado and Simpas were taken to the Rep. Pedro Trono Memorial District Hospital. Both are now in stable condition.
Police have not specified how many communist rebels died in the seven-minute firefight between the two sides.
Eleazar then assured the injured personnel that they would receive assistance from PNP. Also, he asked local police units in the area to do follow up operations to arrest the rebels involved.
“We assure the two policemen who were injured in the Iloilo attack of our full assistance for their full recovery. I am also expecting that our local police forces in the area will intensify their follow-up operations to hold those responsible accountable,” Eleazar said.
Just last March 2021, an IED was also detonated at Janiuay town of Iloilo, although no police officers were injured. Police were also blaming NPA for the explosion, as the area was a known hotbed of skirmishes between rebels and government troopers.
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