Army tags rebels as num­ber one pri­vate army in Ne­gros

Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page - BY TERESA D. ELLERA

THE Philip­pine Army tagged the New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA) as the num­ber one pri­vate army in Ne­gros.

Col. Bene­dict Arevalo, com­man­der of the 303rd Bri­gade of the based in Barangay Mi­noyan, Mur­cia made this state­ment yes­ter­day when the Provin­cial Joint Se­cu­rity Con­trol Cen­ter (PJSCC) was con­vened yes­ter­day at the Provin­cial Capi­tol in Ba­colod City.

“They (rebels) are the num­ber one threat and they are the num­ber one pri­vate army of Jose Maria Si­son. We know that they have po­lit­i­cal in­ten­tions this com­ing elec­tions. The num­ber one pri­vate armed group of Ne­gros, if not the whole Philip­pines, is the NPA,” Arevalo de­clared.

He said the NPAS have sub­stan­tial cov­er­age in Ne­gros up to this time.

Arevalo said the rebel group launched ha­rass­ment at the Hil­a­m­o­nan de­tach­ment of the mil­i­tary and that a 15-minute fire­fight oc­curred be­tween the rebels and the mil­i­tary that re­sulted in the in­jury of one mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

The army com­man­der said the rebels re­tal­i­ated after the mil­i­tary over­run an NPA camp in Barangay Bue­nav­ista, Hi­ma­may­lan on New Year’s Day.

The mil­i­tary re­cov­ered the rebels’ be­long­ings in the said camp.

He also re­vealed that the rebels are try­ing to cre­ate a sce­nario and es­ca­late vi­o­lence for their al­leged ex­tor­tion ac­tiv­i­ties rel­a­tive to the com­ing May 13 elec­tions.

“They are ter­ror­ists and ex­tor­tion­ist for a price. We are try­ing to stop them and we are run­ning after them. They would pos­si­bly come down to di­vert the at­ten­tion of the pub­lic,” he said.

He added: “We have to in­ten­sify our op­er­a­tions against them and we re­ally have to go on the of­fen­sive. We can­not wait for them to at­tack our de­tach­ments and that’s my or­der is to at­tack them first be­fore they at­tack us.”

He fur­ther claimed the NPAS are even ex­tort­ing money from civil­ians.

“We en­cour­age those who are vic­tims of the rebels ex­tor­tion ac­tiv­i­ties to con­tact us through our de­tach­ments and proper au­thor­i­ties like the po­lice be­cause we are closely co­or­di­nat­ing with each other. It will be dealt with con­fi­den­tial­ity and we will do some ac­tions to ad­dress them,” he as­sured.

Mean­while, Act­ing Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Provin­cial Elec­tion Su­per­vi­sor Salus Mi­la­gros Vil­lanueva led yes­ter­day the first com­mand con­fer­ence of PJSCC.

She was joined by Ba­colod City elec­tion reg­is­trar Mavil Ma­jaru­con­sia, Ba­colod City po­lice head Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Fran­cisco Ebreo, and Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal po­lice head Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Romeo Baleros.*

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