Thursday, May 22, 2014

AFP: NPAs eye torching NorCot police office, civilians help repel attack

From the Philippine News Agency (May 22): AFP: NPAs eye torching NorCot police office, civilians help repel attack

The communist guerillas who attempted to overrun a police office in North Cotabato failed and suffered casualties in attempting to burn the newly built police office, kill policemen and seize their firearms, a police official said.

They also planned to attack a detachment of the Philippine Army in President Roxas, North Cotabato but due to increase Army presence opted to try the police office, Army Colonel Nilo Vinluan said.

Citing intelligence information, Vinluan, commander of the 57th Infantry Battalion which has jurisdiction over President Roxas, said the group of Ronald Arnado alias “Commander Revo” had planned to attack the 57th IB detachment in Green Hills.

“We monitored the plan and we deployed more troops in the area and that changed the NPA plan, they instead attacked the soft target which is the police office of Pres. Roxas,” Vinluan said.

Superintendent Danilo Peralta, North Cotabato police provincial director, said police and military personnel recovered about 21 gallons of gasoline and other flammable materials from the truck that the rebels used and abandoned.

“Obviously, they intended to burn the police office,” he said.

Vinluan also said two improvised bombs were recovered in the morning after the dawn attack.

“These bombs were intended for the military who the NPA expect to respond when they stormed the police office,” Vinluan said, adding that improvised bombs were found at a roadside leading to Green Hills where the Army based is located.

Despite the NPA atrocities in President Roxas and nearby communities, Vinluan said the government remained committed to welcome NPA guerillas who will opt to rejoin the mainstream society.

“My heart bleeds seeing Filipinos fighting Filipinos,” Vinluan said, stressing bloody incident can always be avoided.

“The government is open, the government is ready to accept returnees so they can live normal lives,” Vinluan stressed.

“I have said this before and I will say it again, we are here not to conquer but to sow the seed of peace with our brothers and sisters in the NPA movement,” he said.

Police and military authorities confirmed the attacks suffered five fatalities, one wounded in government custody and about 10 others carried away by retreating guerillas.

Pres. Roxas Mayor Jaime Mahimpit said the situation now in the Poblacion has returned to normalcy.

“We are now in control of the situation, I hope the rebels would think twice about creating atrocities in President Roxas,” Mahimpit said.

Military and police sources said villagers alerted the police authorities through its police hotline that three vehicles loaded with what looked like NPA guerillas were heading toward the town “very early in the morning.”

Vinluan said villagers who have been tired of forced taxation by communist guerillas helped repel the attempt by providing the necessary information to authorities.

President Roxas is a first class municipality in the province of Cotabato. Latest census showed it has a population of 45,042 people in 9,012 households.

Banana and rubber are the leading agriculture products and sources of livelihood of residents.

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