NPA strikes in Bukidnon, Benguet

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY--New People’s Army rebels attacked Barangay Tikalaan in Talakag, Bukidnon Thursday morning, killing a resident, abducting a policeman and another resident, stealing five motorcycles from commuters, and torching heavy equipment and a generator set, police said. 

Reports from investigators from the Talakag Municipal Police Station said the communist rebels were in two dump trucks and a van when they attacked the residence of Lito Siagan Atoy in Tikalaan.

The dump trucks were seized from Mindanao Rock Corp. an hour earlier.

Reports said some of the NPA rebels were wearing camouflage fatigues with NBI caps and introduced themselves as NBI agents when they took Atoy with them to Km. 28, Barangay Takalaan.

The NPA also set up a checkpoint at 6 a.m. along the highway in Km. 24 where they flagged down and kidnapped PO2 Anthony Natividad assigned with the Kalilangan Municipal Police Station and another unidentified person.

At 7 a.m., the rebels burned the two dump trucks, a generator set, a mixer and a backhoe, also owned by Mindanao Rock Corp.

The equipment was being used in road construction.

The rebels killed Atoy and then withdrew toward Lanao del Sur, bringing their two captives with them.

Col. Eric C. Vinoya, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander, ordered the 1st Special Forces Battalion to coordinate with the PNP to pursue the rebels.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr., 4ID commander, condemned the terror attack.

“This is another terroristic attack perpetrated by the NPA organized crime group. They again attacked a legitimate company undertaking development projects, which will cause unwarranted delay in projects that are supposed to uplift the condition of our people,” Madrigal said.

“They killed another innocent civilian. I have already directed my battalions that there will be no let-up on our pursuit operation. We will not let these terror group sow fear among our people in Bukidnon.” Madrigal added.

ALL-OUT GAB. As communist rebels staged attacks on civilians on Thursday, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Eduardo Año and Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa sign documents on the government’s supposed all-out war against the communist New People’s Army. PNA 
In Benguet, heavily armed men believed to be members of the NPA burned two new trucks beloging to the Philex Mining Corp. at Sitio Tapac.

Lawyer Eduardo M. Aratas, Philex legal and administrative division head, said the trucks were loaded with ore concentrate to be brought to San Fernando, La Union when the vehicles were flagged down by the heavily armed men who reportedly introduced themselves as members of the NPA.

After forcing the drivers and the security escorts off the two Volvo trucks,the rebels used explosives to set the vehicles on fire.

Mayor Victorio Palangdan condemned the attack.

The Communist Party of the Philippines on Thursday said the gloves are now off and berated President Rodrigo Duterte for “going berserk,” and calling him a “double-speaking thug.”

“Duterte has gone berserk and upturned the entire peace process facilitated by the Norweigian government. He has wasted the achievements attained in peace talks over the past few months. He has crushed the people’s aspiration to carry out peace negotiations as a means of resolving the roots of the ongoing civil war,” the CPP said in a statement Thursday. 

“Duterte is proving to the [National Democratic Front] and the people how difficult it is to conduct serious negotiations with a double-speaking thug who only recognizes his own rules. He is presenting himself a charlatan who does not know the true meaning of just and lasting peace,” the leftists added. 

In a separate statement, NDF chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili rejected the Feb. 7 letter of Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza to the communist rebels relaying Duterte’s instructions to formally end the peace talks with the termination of the 22-year Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), which guaranteed free and unhindered passage to communist negotiators.

“The NDFP cannot acknowledge receipt of the 07 February 2017 email letter of Sec. Dureza. The NDFP cannot be a party to an unjust, unreasonable and improper termination of the JASIG. The GRP bears full responsibility for its unilateral decision,” Agcaoili said. 

He added that the government should not “unilaterally terminate the peace negotiations without just cause and squander the gains so far achieved.”

The CPP said that contrary to Duterte’s claim of “having done everything,” the President did “very little” to advance peace talks with his threats of rearrest to communist negotiators who were participating in the peace talks. 

“Duterte has chosen to terminate peace talks when he could no longer use it to compel the CPP and NPA to a prolonged ceasefire that has left the people defenseless against AFP military operations.” 

“The termination of the CPP and NPA ceasefire signals the revolutionary forces will not accept pacification or surrender. The thug that he is, Duterte will not have any of the CPP’s assertion of its revolutionary integrity.”

Top officials of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police met in Camp Aquinaldo in Quezon City to discuss better coordination against the NPA.

“In our meeting this morning we strengthened the mechanism of the JPSCC [Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Counci] particularly the creation of joint cells at the different levels. Meaning, all our planning and actions should be coordinated, and synchronized down to the provincial level,” AFP chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año said.

Some 104 lawmakers on Thursday signed a resolution urging the President to resume peace talks.

The left-leaning Makabayan Bloc led the filing of the resolution Thursday morning.

The lawmakers said the third round of peace talks between the government and the NDF achieved “significant advances” from the major issues listed in their Jan. 18 agenda.

The lawmakers said in the resolution that “compared to previous administrations, the peace negotiations under the Duterte administration have reached remarkable and unparalleled headway; terminating the same would only put to waste the unprecedented, positive and substantial gains the peace talks have reached.”

Topics: New People’s Army , Bukidnon , Benguet , Talakag Municipal Police Station , Lanao del Sur , Col. Eric C. Vinoya , Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr.
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