Vigilance urged by Iloilo authorities

ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — The Philippine Army (PA)’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) based in Iloilo has yet to verify a report alleging the presence of a special unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Iloilo City.

The PA’s 3ID spokesman, Capt. Reylan Java said on the side of the Army, the latter cannot yet verify an intelligence report released by the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) claiming the existence of the terrorist group in the city.

Said police information made known to the public by city police director S/Supt. Marietto Valerio indicates that a special partisan unit (SPARU) of the NPA is operating in the city and will be targeting known businessmen and government officials for liquidation.

There are also still-to-be-verified reports that the ICPO was acting on information released by the Military Intelligence Group (MIG).

Java clarified that the MIG is under the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and not with the PA’s 3ID.

“We have our own intelligence network, and they (the MIG) have their own and so with the ISAFP which has its own,” Java said.

The 3ID spokesman explained that military intelligence monitoring is focused mostly in the hinterlands and interior rural areas of Central Panay and southern Iloilo, where the NPA is known to continue operating.

Based on previous military intelligence gathering, Java said that only NPA “think tanks” have been monitored by the 3ID in Iloilo City. In the height of the Chinese New Year celebrations last February 2010, joint forces of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested Cirila Estrada, secretary of the NPA’s Kilusang Rehiyon-Panay Southern Front Committee.

Java pointed out that it is “unlikely for the NPA to sow terror in Iloilo City.”

The PA’s 3ID commanding general, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, has emphasized that while the Army has no knowledge of any SPARU presence in Iloilo City, it will try to verify the veracity of the police report saying there is.

Meanwhile, both the Army and the PNP are urging the citizenry in Iloilo to remain vigilant.


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