Army ops, food blockade on; inside story why NPAs didn’t harm cops

>> Sunday, April 9, 2017

Abra war front

By Ginalyn Brioso

BANGUED, Abra  -- Even as military operations are ongoing to flush out New People’s Army guerillas in Malibcong, town elders, police, Army and provincial officials met in this capital town to address peace and security concerns following clashes between government troops and communist rebels.
Families fled their homes and schools closed as the military upped operations which included bombing of areas near residential areas.
To date, a food blockade imposed by the military is still on even as all persons entering the town are being checked and accosted by army troops.
This, after the police station of the municipality was assaulted by NPA rebels around 7:30 p.m. last March 12.
They tied three police officers and took all their guns, 7 M16 rifles and three pistols, four cellphones and a laptop.
The following day, the rebels ambushed a police convoy led by provincial police director Supt.  Alexander Tagum while on its way to reinforce Malibcong police. 
Five police officers were wounded in said incident.
Barangay chairman Claro Bugawit of Poblacion Malibcong said in the Bangued dialogue, during the NPA raid, he immediately gathered his barangay tanods and community leaders to respond to the police station upon hearing gunshots.
He said three NPA rebels stopped them as they approached but he talked them and convinced them not to hurt, abduct or kill the police.
He said the negotiation lasted 20 minutes and rebels returned the cop’s wallets but took their guns and gadgets.
Vice Mayor Joseph Duggay, who came from another far barangay to  Poblacion, reported he received a phone call after the incident from someone who claimed to be NPA member and that they will receive a message from them soon.
Col. Leopoldo Imbang Jr., Brigade Commander of 503rd Infantry Division commended Mablicong officials and community members for their bravery and valor in responding to the crisis and being able to convince the rebels not to abduct and harm the police.
“Wala pa akong nakita in my years of service na community at LGU ang nag-respond at dininig ng mga rebels. Maraming salamat at hindi napasama ang ating kapulisan.”

PNP Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Elmo Francis O. Sarona said, as requested by the community, they will deploy more Tingguian police officers in Malibcong who can understand their culture better. 


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