From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 4): Police foil ‘agaw-armas’ by suspected NPA rebel
Philippine National Police personnel in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, foiled an attempt by an alleged member of the rebel New People’s Army to grab the high-powered service firearm of a policeman deployed at a public cemetery at about 12:20 p.m. Sunday.
The incident happened as people were flocking to the cemeteries for the celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Saturday and Sunday.
The suspect was identified as Jeffrey Gonzaga, 27, single and a resident of Sitio Kantayson, Barangay Maniak in Guihulngan City.
Initial investigation showed that Gonzaga approached PO1 Jose Gabriel Cubo Villegas and wrested from him his issued M-16 armalite rifle.
However, Gonzaga failed because Villegas held on tightly to it and this resulted in a scuffle.
Three other policemen also detailed at the Hilaitan cemetery came to the rescue of Villegas and arrested the suspect, Sr. Insp. Rogelio Pacificar, OIC police chief of Guihulngan, said.
The policemen recovered from Gonzaga a grenade and a long bolo.
Gonzaga, who had the letters “BHB” tattooed on his left hand, admitted to be a member of the NPA out on a mission with some companions to conduct “agaw armas” at the height of the holidays, Pacificar said.
Sr. Supt. Natuel said BHB stands for Bagong Hukbong Bayan of the NPA.
Pacificar said Gonzaga admitted in a police investigation that he and his companions had plotted since Thursday to grab firearms from policemen deployed at the cemeteries.
Gonzaga also said further that he was told by his superiors that if he succeeded, the firearm seized will be issued to him, Pacificar added.
Gonzaga was presented at the Regional Trial Court Branch 64 in Guihulngan City on Monday for inquest after the police filed a complaint against him for illegal possession of an explosive under Republic Act 9516 and for illegal possession of a deadly weapon under Batas Pambansa Blg. 6.
Meanwhile, Sr. Supt. Natuel directed Sr. Insp. Pacificar to submit a full report on the incident to determine whether Villegas was liable for negligence or similar offense, for the attempt of the suspect to seize his firearm.
The MILF chieftain received the copy of the BDP from the Bangsamoro Development Agency which was tasked to formulate the plan beginning March 2013.
The BDP was described as “a blueprint for the development of the Bangsamoro into a just, peaceful, and prosperous society.”
Chairman Murad said the BDP is in support to the peace achievements between the GPH and MILF with the aim of reclaiming a “dignified quality of life” for the Bangsamoro.
Emphasizing the importance of the BDP, Murad spoke also in Magindanawn and told the hundreds of guests that the BDP is another level of struggle of the Bangsamoro.
“We have to strive for its implementation so that all can taste the fruits of our struggle,” Murad said.
In explaining the contents of the plan, BDA Executive Director Mohammad S. Yacob mentioned that priority projects would be made across seven program areas—economy and livelihood, infrastructure, social services, environment and natural resources, culture and identity, governance, and security and normalization— and would be implemented in the envisioned core territories and adjacent areas of the prospective Bangsamoro government.
For MILF Peace Panel Chief and Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, the BDP is not only one of the historic documents achieved by the Moro struggle but it forms part of the “historic opportunity to bring back the glory of our past and build our lives in decency, security and progress.”
Tengku Dato’Abd Gafar Bin Tenku Mohamed, the Malaysian Facilitator for the GPH-MILF Peace Negotiations, also hailed the BDP as a “classic contribution of the Filipino and Bangsamoro” towards peace building.
“The BDP is the only development plan in the world that has been written by a revolutionary group,” he emphasized.
MILF 1st Vice Chairman Ghadzali Jaafar had similar description by stating that the BDP is “unique in the sense that it is crafted in a period when communities are still emerging from protracted conflict.”
Congratulations and support
OPAPP Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles attested to the GPH’s commitment and support.
“The BDP is an attempt to present clear vision of peace and development,” she said.
Even DBM Secretary Florencio Abad was emphatic in ensuring that adequate and ample financing would be extended to the plan implementation so that immediate benefits would be felt by all.
International donor agencies, who played critical role in providing material and manpower resources, were also optimistic for the success of the BDP.
The aid agencies were represented by United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Luiza Carvalho, Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) Country Director Noriaki Niwa and Matt Stephens who stood in behalf World Bank (WB) Country Director Motoo Konishi.
Carvalho announced that the BDP would have its initial public presentation during the Philippine Development Forum on Nov. 5 at Davao City.