NPA rebels kill cop, wound 7 in Camarines Norte ambush
Published: 12:32 p.m., Dec. 2, 2017 | Updated: 11:34 p.m., Dec. 2, 2017
LEGAZPI CITY — Suspected rebels killed a police officer and wounded seven others in an ambush in Labo town in Camarines Norte before dawn on Saturday after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordered the New People’s Army (NPA) to intensify attacks against state forces.
The attack came days after the rebels suffered at least 15 dead in a clash with Air Force troops and police in Batangas province in the biggest single-day casualty for the NPA since President Duterte ordered the termination of peace talks with the insurgents last month.
The rebels waylaid two police patrol cars traveling through Barangay Daguit on their way from Labo town to Camarines Norte provincial police headquarters in Camp Wenceslao Vinzons in Daet town, said Bicol police spokesperson Senior Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib.
PO2 Richard Abad, a member of Camarines Norte Police Mobile Force, was killed in the attack at around 1 a.m.
Wounded were Ronald Gutierrez and Ericson De Vera, both with rank of PO2, and Jeffrey Tarrobago, Pedro Valeros, Romar Umandap, Johnson España, and a certain Aguilar all with the rank of PO1.
Communist party founder Jose Maria Sison said in an online interview on Saturday that the intensified attacks against government forces were in retaliation to Mr. Duterte’s recent moves against the rebels.
“He [Duterte] has arrogantly announced that he continues on the path of all-out war. The NPA has no choice but to take the initiative and do its best to defeat its enemy in as many places as possible,” Sison said.
In a statement last week, the CPP ordered the NPA to “continue to wage and intensify guerrilla warfare nationwide in order to inflict powerful blows against Duterte’s fascist machinery.”
Calubaquib said that Chief Supt. Antonio Gardiola Jr., Bicol police chief, ordered all police stations across the region to be on round-the-clock “high alert” after the President declared the cancellation of peace negotiations.
Senior Supt. Cerilo Trilles, acting police provincial director in Camarines Norte, said the police, backed by soldiers, were pursuing the rebels that attacked the police convoy.
In Albay, Col. Alden Juan Masagca, commander of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade, said the military would also conduct more counteroffensives against the NPAs.
In Saturday’s interview from Utrecht, the Netherlands, where he has lived in exile since 1987, Sison said, “It is impossible for Duterte to wipe out the CPP, NPA and NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) by using methods of mass murder.”
He said more than 90 percent of CPP members were “secret,” adding that to kill one “he [Duterte] will have to kill 100 or even 1,000 suspects.”
Sison also claimed that many legal activists were preparing to join the underground revolutionary movement following Duterte’s threat of tagging them as terrorists, opening them to attacks.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Saturday said the President’s earlier shoot-to-kill order were for armed rebels, not for noncombatants like members of civil society and religious groups.
Roque also belittled the threat by the NPA to intensify attacks, citing the government’s victory over the pro-Islamic State militants in Marawi City.
“If we have defeated the Isis, how much more [the NPA]? I am not bragging but if the government managed to defeat a [global] terrorist group as Isis, wouldn’t they (get defeated too)?” he said. —With reports from Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Michael B. Jaucian And Allan Nawal
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