Thwarting sneak attacks

April 24, 2019

It would be the height of communist atrocity, indeed.

If communist rebels take advantage of the shock, trauma, and confusion brought about by the devastation of the back-to-back earthquakes that hit key regions in the country, then the Marxist insurgents would be taking their struggle to a new low in the moral scale of armed conflict.

But considering the opportunistic, even treacherous, bent of the leaders of the insurgency movement, it would not be remote to expect such a surprise attack anytime soon.

But since the price of safety and security – like freedom – is eternal vigilance, the proper response to such a threat is constant readiness by our security forces to defend communities and vital government installations and private or commercial establishments.

And so, the military remains on alert against possible attacks by communist rebels in the aftermath of the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon.

"We are mindful of the security considerations in this regard, owing to the fact that the terrorist NPA takes advantage of the AFP personnel performing humanitarian missions. We cannot, in this respect, but take appropriate steps to secure our personnel. We would not want a repeat in our past experiences of our personnel treacherously waylaid by this callous and merciless terrorists CPP-NPA," AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said in a message to a local news agency.

Arevalo, however, said the AFP does not see any serious  security vacuum problem.

"Our rescue groups, while deployed and engaged in an ongoing incessant search, rescue, and retrieval operations in Pampanga, do not adversely affect our judicious deployment of troops and the efficacy of our security operations," he added.

The military's Joint Task Force-National Capital Region has alerted two platoons from its disaster response task units any eventuality following Monday's earthquake.

"In Metro Manila, JTF-NCR alerted two platoons of DRTU with complete equipment. The AFP has disaster response task groups that are pre-organized and pre-tasked for possible deployment in any eventualities of disaster," he said.

The AFP spokesperson further cited the ongoing efforts of the military to train civilian rescue groups and procure equipment that would enhance its disaster response readiness.

"Included in our training are those had with other armed forces in the region to ensure interoperability and readiness," he said.

Arevalo said the Tarlac-based Northern Luzon Command, led by Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, has already deployed a composite team of disaster rescue groups of 67 personnel (consisting of seven officers and 60 enlisted personnel) to help in the ongoing search-and-rescue operations in the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac, Pampanga.

Salamat has also instructed all of Nolcom’s disaster response rescue units to be on standby-alert for rescue operations.

Meanwhile, there will be no change in troop positioning in Luzon despite Monday's earthquake.

"Troops committed to SAR in Porac are not directly engaged in ISO (internal security operations), so there will be no changes in current troop disposition and location," AFP public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato, said in a separate message to the Philippine News Agency.