Issue of July 9, 2017
Mt. Province

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AFP on alert vs insurgents w/ upcoming SONA of President
by Ofelia C. Empian

A high ranking officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines assured the public that government forces are on the alert against possible threats to peace in the Cordillera.

Lt./Gen. Romeo Tanalgo, chief of the military’s North Luzon Command, in his recent visit to the region said the AFP and the Philippine National Police are always reminded to remain on alert and be security-conscious especially with President Rodrigo Duterte’s upcoming State of the Nation Address.

“The NPA will try to embarrass the government and will present a different picture of the state of the nation. We not only expect but we are preparing for that all year round,” Tanalgo said.

Malacañang is preparing for the president’s second SONA to be held at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on July 24.

Tanalgo said they are strengthening their forces to combat these New Peoples’ Army insurgents.

“We do not discount that they still have the capabilities because they want to make the people feel that they are still present, still a capable force,” he said.

Recently, around 30 armed members of the NPA and members of the Philippine Army exchanged gunfire at Sitio Tinalban, Barangay Kilong-olao, Boliney, Abra leading to the arrest of an alias Joana who sustained multiple gunshot wounds during the encounter on July 1. 

The captured NPA, according to initial investigation, was among the NPA members who raided the Malibcong Municipal Police Station on March 12 and carted away assorted firearms. She is now confined at Abra Provincial Hospital.

Alias Joana and her group belong to the Kilusang Larangang Guerilla North led by alias Payas.

Assorted firearms including three M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, one M203 grenade launcher, 15 backpacks containing documents, two handheld radios, eight cellphones, and one pocket Wi-Fi along with medical paraphernalia and other personal belongings were recovered from the scene as well. 

The police and the Army at the vicinity of Boliney  are currently conducting joint pursuit operations while checkpoints were also established in all municipal police stations and nearby barangays to block all possible exit routes of the suspects.

Investigation is still ongoing for the attacks in Mankayan, Benguet on June 7 where members of the NPA bombed with improvised explosives the mining equipment at Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company and a private small-scale mineral processing area.

Two days after, members of the Martin Montana Chadli Molintas Command of the NPA-Ilocos Cordillera Region and Sey-ang Rayos, Jennifer Cariño Command of the NPA-Benguet owned up the attack.

The NPA said it is their tactical offensive against the AFP and PNP, which allegedly acts as security forces for the mining firm.

“The armed forces are hardening our targets, strengthening our facilities, and continuing to engage the community so that there would be a social rejection of these insurgencies,” Tanalgo said.

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