New People’s Army (NPAs) demand peace but their actions speak otherwise says 4th Infantry Division (4ID) Commander Benjamin R Madrigal Jr.
He further said, “We cannot let them (NPAs) roam around and lord over the lives of our peace-loving people. Our role is to protect our people and secure their communities from these terrorists.”
Almost a month ago since President Duterte ordered the scrapping of peace talks with the National Democratic Front after the massacre took place in Bukidnon as a group of NPAs killed the three unarmed and in civilian attire soldiers, the NPAs continued to undertake terroristic attacks targeting legitimate business entities and civilian communities contrary to their clamor for the resumption of peace talks.
Series of economic sabotage activities and extortion activities by the terror group are still occurring in the Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions.
For the month of February alone, a total of four burning incidents took place in the two regions including one landmine planting inside a proposed site for hydroelectric power plant in Bukidnon, two kidnapping incidents, and killing of innocent civilians were recorded.
The most recent burning incident happened on Feb 28 in Brgy Bit-os, an outskirt community of Butuan City when the NPA torched one backhoe that is used for the development projects in the said area and another in Brgy Sta Cruz, Rosario town of Agusan del Sur when another NPA group burned down a container van-carrying prime mover after the owner refused to give-in to their extortion demand. The NPAs did their terror act near a school that shocked the young students who witnessed the incident.
Moreover, we can still recall the recent attack on Army troops coming from a relief distribution mission in earthquake-stricken areas of Surigao del Norte together with a non government organization (NGO) reflects the duplicity of the NPAs who violated their own declaration that they will not attack the soldiers on mercy and compassion mission.
These are the reasons why the AFP has declared an all-out-war against this terror group, said MGen Madrigal.
Two encounters took place on Feb. 27 in Misamis Oriental and Surigao del Norte. Troops were able to hit their respective target NPA groups and managed to push them away from the communities they (NPA) have been extorting. One soldier died and one slightly wounded in a fierce fight. Civilians in the area have reported seeing the NPAs carrying their own casualties exiting the encounter areas.
At around 10:30 a.m. of Feb. 28, troops under the 30IB, who were pursuing the NPAs they have encountered earlier in Malimono town of Surigao del Norte, have recovered one M16 rifle with fully loaded magazine, one fully-loaded magazine for AK47, one unexploded Improvised Explosive Device (IED), subversive documents, and extortion letters along the NPA withdrawal route.
“As you can see, the recent encounters in the area are the result of our deliberate and careful planning of the operations. These have been made possible by the timely information given by the concerned civilians who are already fed-up with the lies and deceit of this terror group. However, the death of our soldier will never be forgotten especially by the people to whom he dedicated his life and service. He has offered the ultimate sacrifice so that people in this part of the country may live in peace,” said Madrigal.
He als said that the fact that we are hitting them in all fronts and keeping them on the run encourages us to push further and continue to press the fight until such time that they will cease to continue their terroristic activities in the area
President Duterte has underlined that there should be a compelling reason to return to the negotiating table. The NPA must show their sincerity on ending all kinds of violence in the area such as economic sabotage, extortion activities, terrorizing and killing people. (4ID/PA)
***photo from Pinoy Red Watch***