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Cops told to be on alert, intensify ops vs NPA



National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar directed ground commanders to be on alert and intensify operations against New People’s Army (NPA) members following an attack in Iloilo that left two lawmen injured.

“The attack was certainly a strategy being employed to make it appear that they (communist rebels) are still strong and will eventually be used as a leverage for their extortion activities to candidates for the next year’s election,” Eleazar said.

The PNP chief was referring to Sunday’s incident in Tubungan town, where an undetermined number of NPA members “harassed” the base of the 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company then detonated bombs against personnel who pursued them.

Patrolman Jessie Castamado and Cpl. Genel Simpas were injured in the explosions and the 7-minute firefight that ensued.

Castamado and Simpas were initially brought to a local hospital then transferred to the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City.

Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda, Western Visayas regional police director, visited the wounded lawmen on Tuesday and pinned the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting on them.

“The [rebels’] atrocities show that they are upset about the PNP’s presence in Brgy. Mayang, Tubungan. Their actions show that they are weakening and are only desperate to project that they remain a strong and capable force, when in fact they are not,” Miranda said in a statement.

Eleazar, meanwhile, assured that the PNP would extend all forms of assistance to the injured personnel.

He also tasked the local police in the area to conduct follow-up operations to catch the perpetrators of the attack.

“I am expecting that our local police forces in the area will intensify their follow-up operations to hold those responsible accountable,” Eleazar said.