ILOILO City – The New People’s Army (NPA) is planning to stage “agaw armas” attacks on police stations, particularly those in remote areas, according to intelligence information reaching the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6).
Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, regional police director, ordered police stations across Western Visayas to be on full alert status and secure their premises.
Cops should be wary of people entering their stations as these could be rebels checking them out before striking, said Police Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong, PRO-6 spokesperson. She recalled the NPA raid of the Maasin, Iloilo police station in June 2017.
Two women rebels pretending to be civilians entered the Maasin police station to supposedly have something recorded in the police blotter. Then all of a sudden more rebels barged into the police station through the back door and handcuffed nine stunned police officers on duty.
Malong said police chiefs were directed to set up reception desks outside police stations where those with police blotter concerns would be entertained.
In Iloilo province, Police Colonel Roland Vilela, police director, ordered a 24-7 guarding of police stations and for policemen to strengthen intelligence information gathering and carry long and short firearms.
Vilela also created seven teams to inspect police stations’ readiness.
He identified “high-risk” municipalities . These were: Alimodian, Balasan, Bingawan, Calinog, Guimbal, Janiuay, Igbaras, Lambunao, Lemery, Leon, Maasin, Miag-ao, San Joaquin, San Rafael, and Tubungan.
The component city of Passi was also considered high-risk for rebel attacks.
On June 18, 2017 around 60 rebels overran the Maasin police station. The daring, broad daylight incursion was swift. Within 15 minutes beginning around 10:30 a.m., the rebels shanghaied eight M16 rifles, four Glock .9mm pistols, five handheld radios and their base, two laptops, P29,000 cash, and jewelry.
The rebels did not harm the nine police officers but handcuffed them. They also used the police station’s patrol car to flee.
“I don’t want that to happen again,” said Vilela.
Maasin is some 25 kilometers from Iloilo City. The rebels were long gone when troops from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the PRO-6 reached the police station.
Minutes after the raid, Ka Julio Montana, spokesperson of the NPA-Panay (Coronacion Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command) issued a statement praising the NPA-Napoleon Tumagtang Command for the successful operation.
Not a gun a fired, noted Montana.
The RPSB was ordered to take over the Maasin police station after the NPA raid. Chief Superintendent Jose Hawthorne Binag, then the Western Visayas police director, sacked all of Maasin’s police force – 24 police officers,
Ka Julio Montana enumerated several reasons for the raid. He accused Maasin policemen of extortion, with poor vendors as their primary victims.
Montana also claimed the Maasin police tolerated the proliferation of illegal drugs and illegal gambling in the town.
The raid was NPA-Panay’s answer, too, to Oplan Kapayapaan all-out war campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police against the revolutionary movement, Montana added.
Oplan Kapayapaan has resulted to rampant human rights violations such as illegal arrests, bombings of communities, forced evacuation of villagers, and killings of suspected rebels, among others, said Montana./PN