From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 27): NPA rebels try to regain lost strength in Bataan, Pampanga
The New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were trying to regain their lost strength in the industrial province of Bataan, but government troopers have vowed to foil it.
The army leadership has assured that they will not allow the resurgence of NPA rebels in this province and nearby Pampanga.
During the recent Peace and Order Council (POC) meeting held inside the 1Bataan Headquarters in Orani, Bataan, Col. Ramil Anoyo, Commanding Officer of the army’s 48th infantry battalion, said that the rebels were trying to encroach Bataan and neighboring Pampanga in their bid to regain their strength in these two provinces in Central Luzon
Col. Anoyo’s action came in the wake of reported three sightings in Pag asa, Orani town last February 13, where eight armed men were seen roaming around the forested area.
On February 8, another sightings of three armed men were also reported in Bilolo, Orion town while last January 12, two armed men were also sighted in Maligaya, Dinalupihan town.
But Anoyo said that they will continue to conduct operations against the rebels “in order to preserve an environment inhospitable to the armed threat that will compel them (NPA) to abandon their armed struggle.”
Anoyo said however that these sightings were subjected to validation since Bataan had been declared by the army leadership free of insurgents.
Gov. Abet Garcia, Chairman of POC, thanked the army as he offered support for the soldiers to maintain an atmosphere of peace in this industrial province.
The governor wanted to preserve the peaceful environment of Bataan, now becoming one of the preferred investments place in the region with the pouring in of various investors-local and foreign.
To prevent the rebels from encroaching Bataan, Anoyo said that they will put up another army detachment in Dinalupihan town to ensure that the rebels cannot against infiltrate Bataan, once their (rebels) bailiwick in late 80s.
At around 5:40 in the afternoon, more or less 15 fully-armed NPAs entered the Compound of the proposed site for the 10.6 megawatts Pulanai Hydroelectric Power Plant at Zone 11, Hangaron, Barangay Lumbayao, an outskirt community of Valencia City. The NPAs confiscated the cellphones of the workers and ordered them to go out of the said compound. According to the witnesses, the NPAs fired several shots after laying some Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) inside the compound.
Col Antonio Bautista Jr., 8IB Commanding Officer immediately sent troops including a team from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) to go after the said armed group and to carefully recover the said planted IEDs.
It can be recalled that on Dec 10, 2016, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte graced its groundbreaking ceremony. He even mentioned in his speech that he is asking the NPAs to spare the project from their attacks as the Pulanai plant, owned and operated by Repower Energy Development Corp., is one of the power-generation facilities that are envisioned to boost the economic activity in that area for it will cater the electric requirements for the people of Mindanao and will generate employment for the people in that area.
Meanwhile, at around 10 pm the same day, another NPA group burned down two spray trucks owned by Davco Agri Venture Corporation (DAVCO) in Brgy Merangiran, Quezon, Bukidnon.
According to the PNP investigation, the company’s refusal to give-in to NPA extortion demand is the reason behind the incident.
MGen Benjamin R Madrigal Jr., 4ID Commander lambasted the NPA’s attack and promised that there will be no let-up on the pursuit operation against the perpetrators. He said “The NPA terrirists have once again proven to the whole nation that they really do not want our country to develop. What they did in those areas is plain economic sabotage that aims to make our people suffer.”
“We are one with the peace-loving people of Bukidnon in condemning this terror group. I have ordered my line units that there will be no let-up in our operation. We shall see to it that we will hit them harder until they cease in doing their atrocities in the area.”