THE New People’s Army (NPA) on Monday, July 31, admitted perpetrating the ambush in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on July 21, which claimed the lives of six policemen and wounded three others.
Spokesperson JB Regalado of NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command, in a statement, said they were able to successfully stage the tactical offensive against the Guihulngan City Police Station at Barangay Magsaysay. READ: 6 cops, civilian killed in Guihulngan City ambush Killed were police chief Superintendent Arnel Arpon, Senior Police Officer 2 Mecasio Tabilon, Senior Police Officer 2 Teovic Agosto, Senior Police Officer 1 Jesael Ancheta, Police Officer 2 Alvin Paul Bulandres, and Police Officer 2 Alfredo Dunque while injured were Senior Police Officer 4 Jerome Delara, Police Officer 3 Jordan Balderas, and Police Officer 2 Jorie Maribao.
They responded to the call for assistance of Guihulngan City Councilor Edison de la Rita, who was earlier ambushed by the rebels. The councilor’s aide was killed while his other companion was wounded.
The NPA said they were acting on the complaints of the residents against the policemen, whom the rebels accused of killings, abuses, and engaging in illegal drugs.
The rebels added that they didn’t commit human rights violations when they perpetrated the ambush because they are legitimate military targets.
The NPA said the police immediately responded after De la Rita called for help, but they didn’t help the victims who reported the crimes of the councilor.
Regalado said the firefight with the policemen lasted for 30 minutes. The NPA also seized six M16 assault rifles, three M4 assault rifles, seven 9mm caliber pistols, one 45 caliber pistol, nine bandoliers, magazines and more than 1,000 rounds of live ammunition, and four cellphones.
The NPA added that they didn’t take the policemen’s money and watches. The communist rebels claimed the Guihulngan policemen were engaging in illegal activities.
They accused them of murdering seven people since 2008 and receiving money from individuals for a hit. They also accused the policemen of illegal arrests and torture, and protecting drug lords and pushers, who supply drugs in Guihulngan from Cebu City.
The NPA added that the policemen are also protecting group of robbers and are engaged in other illegal activities. The statement said the families of the victims of the police abuses are crying for justice.
The NPA further said that Guihulngan is not peaceful due to the illegal activities committed by the policemen as they are also protecting drug lords. Augment Meanwhile, the Philippine Army is looking to augment the troops in Negros Island Region (NIR) following the series of attacks perpetrated by the communist rebels.
Philippine Army 3rd Infantry Division Commander Jon Aying on Monday said they are planning to send back to Negros and Panay the two army battalions deployed to Marawi City. He is still waiting for the order from the higher command, he added.
Aying said he saw the situation in Marawi when he recently visited the two army units – the 15th and 82nd Infantry Battalions – deployed to Mindanao. He said President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Negros Oriental last week, promised to increase the number of soldiers in Negros Island.
Aying slammed the NPA atrocities, saying the rebels were only “showing off” after the collapse of the peace process. “They’re making a mockery of the government, the administration and the people,” he said.
Aying said there are only more than 200 rebel forces in Negros Island, and they are only doing a “show of force” for “impression of strength.” He added that many businessmen and politicians in the region are still giving in to the rebels’ extortion activities.
On Sunday, July 31, suspected rebels torched heavy equipment at a quarry site in Siaton, Negros Oriental.