Monday, February 20, 2017

AFP: Paquibato, Marilog closely monitored due to NPA presence

From the Mindanao Times (Feb 20): AFP: Paquibato, Marilog closely monitored due to NPA presence

THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is placing some barangays of Paquibato and Marilog under watchlist anew following the resurgence of communist rebel attacks since the beginning of this month.
Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, commander of Joint Task Force Haribon, said the Eastern Mindanao Command ( EastMinCom) is combatting six groups of the New People’s Army in its area of responsibility.

He said two NPA groups are operating under the area of responsibility of 3rd Infantry Battalion: the Pulang Bagani Command ( PBC) 1 under Jinggoy Cañete and PBC 2 under alias Lando.

“Apparently, they conducted joint operations to disturb our communities in the outskirts of Davao City,” Gapay said.

The AFP already declared Davao City as “insurgency free,” which means that the movements of the NPA are already controlled and monitored. That also means industries and residents can go about their businesses unimpeded.
However, Gapay said that when President Rodrigo Duterte declared a ceasefire late last year, the NPA took advantages and consolidated its forces.

“We are now going back to these areas and we are telling the people that are here again to protect them,” he added.

Gapay said there are still three to four barangays in Paquibato that are placed under watchlist. These are located in the northern part of the district.
On the other hand, they are also watching closely three or four barangays in Marilog.

“It doesn’t mean the entire barangay, we are looking at sitios (hamlets) only because they cannot get the entire barangay since the people want peace already,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said the door to peace with the communist rebels is not totally closed.

“It is up to the NPA if they want the peace talks to continue because the government has already shown its sincerity and effort to give them they want,” he said.

“They claim they want peace but there is no sincerity so it is actually a deception,” he further said. “So if they want to bring back the peace talks, the rebels must bring down their arms, abandon their movement and do away with violence and join society.”

In an earlier interview also, AFP Chief Gen. Eduardo Año said they are studying if they need to deploy additional battalions to the region to help fight the communist rebels.

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