Army to intensify
security vs. NPA
Major General Vicente Porto yesterday ordered Army commanders to further intensify their security operations against the New People’s Army rebels, who are now on a rampage in Negros island.
Porto who presided over the command conference in La Carlota City, said the attack and destruction of properties, estimated at P600,000 of the Victorias Milling Company, and the series of liquidation of civilians, in Escalante and Cauayan in Negros Occidental, and in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, form part of the continuing “terror campaign” of the New People’s Army, to prove that they are still a force to reckon with.
Initial investigations of the military and police showed that the refusal of the VMC management to pay revolutionary tax prompted the rebels to destroy its water pumping station in Victorias City, to remind them of their financial obligations to the NPA.
Porto also reminded Army commanders to be vigilant against the continuing rebel attacks against individuals and private companies, who are defying their demands and warnings.
Brig. Gen. Pedro Sinajon, 3ID deputy commander, who represented Porto at the Regional Peace and Order conference in Iloilo Friday, said they may deploy forces in the vicinity of the VMC sugar refinery in Victorias City, to augment the private security guards hired by the company.
This was after Efren Lagdamen, a security officer of VMC, admitted that they are helpless, or have no capability to fight against the fully-armed NPA rebels.
Police records showed that in previous years, suspected rebels also torched and destroyed the two transloading stations of VMC and Lopez Sugar Corporation in Toboso, Negros Occidental.
Arson and robbery-in- band charges are slated to be filed by the police this week against identified rebel personalities who had participated in the bombing and burning of VMC properties.
Lt. Col. Ramil Bitong, 11th Infantry Battalion commander, meanwhile, said a strong family bond could protect family members from being recruited by rebels.
“Our family is our best defense against insurgency,” Bitong said during a “pulong-pulong” held in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental participated in by about 800 residents led by Mayor Jimmy Clerigo and other city officials, said.
The clearing of Bayog and Lumapao barangays in Canlaon City, from which the participants of the pulong-pulong came, was among the marked accomplishments of the 11th in Canlaon City, this year.
Clerigo acknowledged the vital role of local government executives in ensuring that the cleared communities remain insurgency-free, Bitong said.*GPB
4 murders linked to Army-Red war
The series of killings, which started with a slain policeman, dead militant leader, summarily executed “army asset” and an evacuee who was gunned down at his home is perceived by many as retaliatory murders between the military and the underground communist movement.
However, authorities are not quick to accept the prevailing public perception as they prefer to finish their investigations of the four murders.
SP03 Malaquias Amores of the Zamboanguita PNP was shot dead by still unidentified assassin last Sept. 29. His murder is believed to be work-related and the involvement of communist assassins has not been ruled out.
The policeman’s murder was followed by the killing of Rene Toto Quirante, Deputy Secretary General of KAUGMAON in Trinidad, Guihulngan, which was blamed on the military.
Three days later, Monday, Quiciano Rendoque, who was tagged as a military asset, was summarily executed by three unidentified men outside his home in Basiao, Amlan. Hours after, in Trinidad, Guihulngan, Eulalia Bargaso was also shot dead. She and her family had fled to Trinidad to avoid the presence of armed men who extort money and food from them.
ANOTHER COP DOWN IN SOUTH Another policeman was hit thrice with a .45 caliber pistol by a lone gunman while the victim was attending a social party in Kabankalan Road in Bayawan City, Thursday evening.
The victim SPO1 Wilfredo Enoy was hit thrice at a night party . But his companion returned fire causing the suspect to disappear in the dark. Ten empty shells of .45 caliber were recovered from the scene.
Bayawan PNP chief inspector Errol Garchitorena suspects strongly that the method fit an NPA hit-attempt as if to retaliate in past army and PNP encounters.
A civilian Lexzel Ledamo was hit. Both were rushed to the provincial hospital and are now safe from danger. They are also guarded there. (FLORENCE BAESA.)
NPA killings up 150% in
Negros, Army says
The military yesterday reported an increase by 150 percent of victims of summary execution allegedly perpetrated by the New People’s Army in central Negros in the nine months of 2010.
Lt. Col. Ramil Bitong, 11th Infantry Battalion commander, said the lawless New People’s Army once again made a history for itself by killing 15 innocent civilians suspected to be military informants in just nine months, compared to six in the same period last year.
“The NPA wantonly killed their victims at a staggering (rate) of two victims every month,” Bitong said, adding that the figure does not include NPA victims in northern and southern Negros.
Militant groups also accused the 11th IB of being behind the brutal killing of Rene Quirante, deputy secretary general of farmer’s group KAUGMAON, a local affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas, in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares also said two soldiers of the 61st Infantry Battalion who are in jail, were also involved in the murder of Negros human rights advocate Benjamen Bayles in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, earlier.
Maj. Gen. Vicente Porto, 3rd Infantry Division commander, emphasized that he will never tolerate misdemeanors of soldiers under his command, citing the alleged involvement of two 61st IB troopers in the killing of Bayles.
Bitong said the armed NPA has consistently resorted to brutal killings, to terrorize innocent and defenseless civilians in the hinterland barangays of central Negros, justifying their acts as righteous and necessary, in accordance with the “kill one to terrorize a thousand” theory.
A civilian identified as Eulalio Bragazo, former NPA member Jesus Jamen, ex-RPA-ABB member Jeboy Gonzaga and ex-CAFGU member Maximo Labanda, were among the recent victims of summary execution, being blamed by the military and police, on the NPA.
“This is in line with their (NPA) strategy of waging a protracted and bloody revolution where civilians have become their major targets, and the so-called “purging” — a horrible tactic of flushing out purported government agents and military spies — within their organization by systematically and mercilessly killing their own comrades, Bitong said.
He claimed that the killing of Quirante in Brgy Trinidad, Guihulngan, triggered by his personal altercation with a fellow NPA member, was blamed on them.
Bitong said they are no longer surprised at being a “whipping dog” of the so-called human rights advocates, Karapatan, and its allied organizations, whenever there are incidents of killing.
But they (Karapatan) turn a blind eye on the killings of innocent civilians by the NPA, he added.*GPB
Alleged communist rebel nabbed in Iloilo
ILOILO CITY, Philippines – A suspected communist guerrilla was arrested by police in Iloilo province on Saturday, authorities said.
Two hand grenades, ammunition, and a wig were also recovered from John Castro Jr., a 36-year-old resident of Barangay San Rafael, Tigbauan town.
He was arrested in Sitio Tabuc Danao in Barangay Bitas, Tigbauan.
He has two arrest warrants issued by Regional Trial Court 6th Judicial Region Branch 67 in Guimbal, Iloilo.
Murder and frustrated murder cases were filed against him in October 2009.
Castro is believed to be a member of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, a breakaway faction of the underground communist movement in the country.
The wig recovered from Castro shows that he uses a disguise in public, according to authorities.