Monday, November 13, 2017
ILOILO City – Armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) fired at the detachment of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office’s (IPPO) 3rd Maneuver Platoon in Barangay Bolo, Maasin, Iloilo.
Bursts of gunfire were heard around 5:15 a.m. yesterday some 25 meters away from the detachment under Chief Inspector Ronnie Brillo, said Senior Inspector Feliz Alianza, Maasin police chief.
Brillo’s men returned fire, forcing at least four rebels to withdraw, said Alianza.
He considered the incident “only a harassment” but stressed, “We don’t want to be complacent.”
On June 18, rebels raided the police station of Maasin. The daring, broad daylight caper was swift. Within 15 minutes beginning around 10:30 a.m., the rebels shanghaied M16 rifles, Glock .9mm pistols, handheld radios and their base, laptops, mobile phones, and jewelry.
The rebels also used the police station’s patrol car to flee.
“Our men are on full alert status also because of the recent encounter between Philippine Army troops and rebels in Capiz. Three high-ranking rebels were killed,” said Alianza.
The Nov. 7 encounter was in Sitio Badiangon, Barangay Puti-an, Cuartero, Capiz.
Killed were Remy Beraye, a resident of Barangay Baldoza, La Paz, Iloilo City and
former chairperson of the League of Filipino Students at West Visayas State University; Federico Diaz alias Val or Bansoy of Barangay Mahabang Sapa, Cuartero; and Allan Lerona alias Felizardo Cerilo or Bong of Mambusao, Capiz.
The Army claimed the three were leaders of the NPA’s Nonito Aguirre Sr. Command – Diaz as vice commanding officer, Lerona as finance and logistics officer, and Beraye as propagandist.
Government troops recovered from the encounter site an AK-47 assault rifle, an M16 armalite rifle and five backpacks left by the three’s fleeing companions.
IPPO spokesperson Senior Inspector Rolando Araño confirmed that oolice stations in remote towns were also on full alert status.
“We know (the rebels) have to retaliate. All police stations are heavily armed, ready to engage,” said Araño.
The Police Regional Office 6, meanwhile, considered as a failure in police-community relations the successful NPA raid of the Maasin police station in June.
The previous set of Maasin policemen failed to earn the community’s trust and confidence so they weren’t informed of the impending raid, said Superintendent Gilbert Gorero, PRO-6 spokesperson.
During his visit to Maasin on June 23 five days after the raid, Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa appealed for “mutual cooperation and protection” between the townspeople and the Maasin police.
The PNP’s thrust towards adopting community-oriented policing is prescribed by the law that created it, Republic Act 8551 (Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998). It states that the PNP shall be a community- and service-oriented agency responsible for the maintenance of peace and order and public safety.
According to Gorero, the Maasin raid could not have been a failure in police intelligence. Weeks before the raid, the IPPO already alerted several police stations that the NPA was planning to attack the police station of Maasin and several other towns.
“Kaso lang may mga pulis gid nga pabaya,” said Gorero.
In the PNP Police-Community Relations Manual (Revised, January 2012), then PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome stated: “A synergistic partnership between the community and the Philippine National Police is essential if crime reduction and quality of life are to improve. Thus, both mutual and supportive relationships are vital in increasing the law enforcers’ effectiveness in enforcing the law, reducing crime and maintaining peace.”
This partnership, he added, can be further strengthened by initiating programs to make the community feel safe with the police.
“When every citizen feels safe in the community, trust and confidence in the police is regained. Thus, it will be easier to solicit their support in all police programs to attain genuine peace and security. In so doing, the PNP shall be a more accessible and indispensable partner of the community in providing more efficient and effective services,” wrote Bartolome in the PNP Police-Community Relations Manual./PN