NPA captures cops, soldier in daring operations

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - NEWS -

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Communist rebels have captured at least 5 policemen and army soldier in daring operations in southern Philippines where they put up checkpoints and roadblocks along highways in three provinces.

Police have confirmed last week that the New People’s Army are holding some officers and among them were SPO3 Edwin Castor of Wao municipal police station in Lanao del Sur province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; and SPO1 Warren Coñales of the Impasugong Municipal Police Station in Bukidnon province.

The Philippine Army did not release the identity of the soldier, but Maj. Ezra Balagtey, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, said they are exerting efforts to rescue the “abducted PNP and Army personnel without compromising the rule of law, respect of human rights and adherence to International Humanitarian Law.”

He said rebel forces set up checkpoints and blockades over the weekend along highways in Carmen town in Agusan Del Norte; in Impasug-ong in Bukidnon and Talisayan in Misamis Oriental province.

It was not immediately known why police and military forces failed to detect or prevent the daring operations of rebels, but Balagtey was quick to denounce the NPA’s actions.

“The AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command condemns the road blockades set-up by the NPA. This is a cowardly act for an armed group pretending to fight for the rights of the people,” he said.

“This is a dastardly act of projecting an image of strength at the expense of peace-loving communities. The conduct of road block is a desperate move after the NPA’s series of setbacks as a result of law enforcement operations and withdrawal of support of a number of their members and supporters in Northern and Southern Mindanao.” NPA vows to exact revenge

The capture of the security personnel came after the NPA strongly denounced the brutal dispersal by policemen on protesting farmers in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato that left 3 people dead and dozens more wounded, including two cops, who were injured in the clash.

Over 5000 hungry farmers barricaded the highway and demanded food aid from the government, saying, their farms were devastated by drought brought about by the extreme weather phenomenon El Niño.

Rubi del Mundo, a spokesman for the NPA, said: “The National Democratic Front in Southern Mindanao and the entire revolutionary forces in the region are enraged by the bloody turn of events following the violent dispersal of the barricade mounted in Kidapawan City by struggling peasants and Lumads who are reeling from the calamitous effects of El Niño in the province of North Cotabato.”

“No one else have their hands bloodied by the murders of three farmers, the wounding and detention of 116 others, but the fascist regime of US-Benigno Aquino III and local reactionary government of North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza,” he said.

Del Mundo said there is no acceptable ground for the local government to exercise brute force against a peaceful barricade of hungry peasants and their families.

“The US-Aquino regime cannot wash its hands clean of criminal responsibility from the murders in Kidapawan City, which now brings the toll of his fascist administration’s extra-judicial killings to 61. Oplan Bayanihan, the ruling clique’s atrocious master plan against all forms of resistance, is virtually a marching order to kill or harass peasants, Lumads, workers and other poor Filipinos who stand in the way of foreign capitalist plunder, feudal exploitation or bureaucratic neglect and abuse. It is US-Aquino III’s despotic regime and culture of impunity that allow this kind of criminal attacks against hapless civilians,” he said.

Del Mundo also vowed to punish all those involved in the deadly police dispersal of protesters.

“The People’s Democratic Government in North Cotabato vows to ensure that the perpetrators of this vicious crime—the US-Aquino regime and its local reactionary machinery of implementing Oplan Bayanihan (Philippine military’s anti-insurgency campaign)—will be held accountable to the full extent of revolutionary justice.”

“We salute the masses in the barricade, heroes in the eyes of the exploited Filipino class, who only rightly believe that relief from calamity can only be achieved through militant struggle. The martyrs of Kidapawan barricade will but inspire us to continue to wage the national democratic revolution and intensify all forms of resistance as the only means of achieving genuine peace and justice,” he said.

The NPA has been fighting for decades now for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country.

President Benigno Aquino and the Department of the Interior and Local Government lead the turnover of 135 fire trucks and 144 patrol jeeps—part of the capability enhancement of uniformed personnel, across the country.

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