The Philippine National Police said the New People’s Army has reverted to its old guerilla tactics to boost its weapons’ arsenal by way of killing cops and snatching their firearms (“agaw armas”).
PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez said this NPA tactic came to the fore after the rebels launched a series of killings of policemen in the countryside and even urban centers which left eight cops dead and a dozens of others wounded and their issued firearms taken this week.
“In the past, that’s the way they demonstrate it. They’re still a force to reckon with,” Marquez said.
NPA rebels in Cagayan staged a daring ambush on a police convoy responding to a distress call from a project construction manager after rebels torched equipment at the outskirts of Baggao town and killed six policemen.
Two days later, NPA rebels waylaid a police prowl car responding to a stabbing incident in Negros Occidental killing two policemen.
Marquez advised policemen to observe the rules and safety procedures in responding to crime situation and other forms of distress calls that could be a ploy by NPA rebels.
He said the Cagayan incident could be a form of extortion by the NPA against legitimate businessmen.
As to the possible resurgence of NPA hit squad, Marquez said they have not seen any indication that NPA rebels have been resorting to “’agaw-armas,” but reminded field policemen, particularly in urban centers, to be on the alert.
Marquez said he would fly to Cagayan to find out whether police officers have committed lapses in the province in relation to the ambush in Negros island.
“We have deployed a security investigation team there, but the investigation is not yet completed. We will check if operational lapses were committed by our units on the ground so that we will learn from our experiences,” Marquez said.