Marcos orders police presence increase in Masbate after spate of NPA attacks
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has ordered the increase of police and military presence in the province of Masbate after spate of attacks by suspected members of communist New People’s Army in the province, Malacañang said on Friday.
Acting on Marcos’s directive, Defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr. said the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police’s Regional Command in Bicol met at Camp Ola in Legazpi City on Thursday, where they agreed to increase police presence and visibility in schools affected by the activity of the NPA.
“The Philippine Army and PNP units in the area have intensified their operations against the rebels … concerned military commanders are also coordinating with the police, local government and school officials on how to counter the rebels’ misinformation campaign,” the Malacañang said in a statement, citing Galvez.
This comes after a series of encounters between government troops and Maoist rebels in Masbate this week.
On March 20, a soldier was killed in an encounter in Barangay Villahermosa in Cawayan town.
Two soldiers and a minor were wounded in an explosion on March 22, which led to a clash between government troops and Maoist rebels in Placer town.
The clash was reported to have disrupted a Women’s Month celebration in nearby Locso-an Elementary School, causing school officials to suspend classes.
The recent encounter near a school was condemned by the Department of Education.
“These acts of terrorism perpetrated by the New People’s Army have caused trauma to learners and school personnel who witnessed the senseless violence,” the DepEd said in a statement on Thursday. — MJ Soriano, trainee
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