SUSPECTED rebel hitmen added two police officers to their list of over 140 security agents dead in New People’s Army-initiated assassinations in the countryside since 2015 amid talk of creating a specialized unit that will go after NPA assassins in the country.
Police have also uncovered plans by the NPA to take police hostages to apply pressure on the government into declaring a Yuletide ceasefire coinciding with the 50th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines this coming December 26.
The Utrecht-based CPP leadership of Jose Ma. Sison has ordered the NPA to escalate attacks on government and civilian targets in response to the Congressional approval of an extension of martial law in Mindanao until 2019.
The attacks and the discovery of the NPA plans have prompted Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde to place on high alert all PNP maneuver forces nationwide to repel possible more NPA offensive acts following an order from self-exiled Communist Party of the Philippines leader Jose Ma. Sison.
The PNP chief said he wants his ground strike forces to be ready 24/7 for any possible tactical engagement with “CPP/NPA terrorist elements that have been ordered to escalate attacks on government and prized civilian targets.”
Last Wednesday, suspected NPA gunmen shot dead a police sergeant and wounded a tribal leader known for his anti-communist stance during separate attacks in the countryside.
Senior Police Officer 4 Ronald Galap, a resident of Barangay Magsaysay, Cordon, Isabela assigned at the Lubuagan Municipal Police Station in Kalinga Province was assassinated by suspected NPA hitmen in Bgy. Tanggal in Cordon town around 4:10 p.m. Wednesday, Police Regional Office 2 director Chief Superintendent Jose Mario Espino said.
The second victim identified as Datu Jumar Bucales, 46, tribal leader in Lianga, Surigao del Sur was shot and wounded by suspected NPA guerrillas in Bgy. San Isidro 1:40 p.m. Wednesday, PRO13 director Chief Supt Gilbert Cruz said. The victim suffered a gunshot wound in his left arm and chest and was immediately brought to the Lianga District Hospital for treatment under guard by the military.
According to Cruz, Bucales is an arch-enemy of the NPA movement in Lianga where he has gained popularity for his active involvement in the fight against the leftist rebels after leaving the movement.
A day after shooting Bucales, suspected NPA hitmen killed a policeman in Santiago, Agusan del Norte who tried to fight their kidnapping attempt. The incident prompted Cruz to reiterate his instruction for all his men to be wary of rebel plots to assassinate them at any given opportunity.
SPO3 3 Reil Mijares Morgado, a 46-year old member of the Santiago municipal police died while exchanging fire with the rebels who attempted to abduct him in his residence in Purok 4-A, Bgy. Jagupit 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Cruz said shortly after killing the cop, the gunmen stole his issued firearm and escaped on board their two ‘habal-habals’ towards the direction of nearby Tubay municipality. Cruz said that a pursuit operation led in the capture of three of the suspects identified as Renato Caerlang,34; his cousin Ryan James Cerlang,18; and Riedel Cabello,26, all residents of Bgy. Poblacion 1 in Santiago.