THE Philippine National Police placed regional police offices across the country on high alert and warned them against possible attacks from the communist New People’s Army whose guerrillas killed six policemen and injured 15 in an ambush on Tuesday.
“To avoid similar incidents, the PNP national headquarters reminded anew all police regional offices to be more vigilant, enhanced personnel security and conduct preventive and proactive operations in coordination with AFP units against the Communist Party of the Philippines and NPA, lawless elements and criminal groups,” said PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor.
The PNP heightened their alert after 40 communist rebels ambushed a convoy of policemen who were responding to a distress call from a private contractor who complained that the rebels burned their construction equipment in Baggao, Cagayan.
Mayor said the PNP condemns the latest act of hostility of the communist movement and called it a manifestation of “utter disregard to human lives and concern of the welfare of the local populace despite the efforts of the government to uplift the well-being of Cagayan thru sustained development.”
Meanwhile, the military has dispatched helicopter gunships in the surrounding mountain ranges of Cagayan province, particularly in the surrounding jungles in Baggao town, and reported that two NPA rebels have been killed in retaliatory attacks.
Prior to the ambush, the military said it had already warned the police of a heavy concentration of NPA rebels in Brgy Pallagao in nearby Alcala, Cagayan before the the contractor complained to the police.
“The NPA’s action manifest their purpose to harass those that are working for the improvement of the standard of living of the people contrary to the ideology being propagated by their group,” Mayor said.
The PNP leadership assured the survivors of those slain in the ambush that they will immediately get the financial and other benefits due to policemen killed in the line of duty.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, the PNP high command extends condolences to the orphaned families of the deceased. Initially, the bereaved families shall be provided with PNP financial support and benefits from the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund Inc.,” Mayor said.
To prevent future NPA assaults, Mayor urged people in the countryside to provide information of their presence so that security forces can arrest criminals and bring them to justice.