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PNP orders intensified camp defense plan.

By Aaron Recuenco

Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), reminded on Tuesday all police commanders, especially in communist rebel-infested areas, to refresh their respective camp defense plan amid the series of attacks of the New People's Army (NPA)--including the attack at a police station in Sorsogon that left three cops wounded.

"They should maintain their alertness and target-hardening measures, and of course, their camp defense plan," said Albayalde.

Albayalde said they expect the rebel attack to intensify following the order of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leadership to its armed wing, the NPA, to escalate the offensive against the government, as well as the usual increase on rebel atrocities during the December 26 CPP founding anniversary.

On Monday night, a large band of communist rebels tried to lay siege to the police station of Magallanes town in Sorsogon. The policemen on duty fought back and drove away the attacking rebels.

But it resulted in the wounding of three rookie cops-- identified as Police Officers 1 Rolan Geul, Sonny Son Estera and Melvin Bartolata. A civilian identified only as a certain Luigi survived a bullet wound on his neck.

The rebels also attacked the Provincial Mobile Forces Company also in the same province.

Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, director of the Bicol regional police, said he had already declared full alert status in the entire region to prevent more attacks and as part of the pursuit operations against the attacking rebels in Sorsogon.

Escobal said the declaration of full alert status is not only because of the two Sorsogon attacks but also of the harassment against the police forces in Bula town of Camarines Sur.

"There could be more attacks and we are taking measures. We are doing offensives with the augmentation of a company of Special Action Force," said Escobal.

It was recalled that the PNP leadership sent a company of its elite SAF commandos in Bicol as part of the compliance of the Memorandum Order 32 issued by the President to strengthen defense on rebel infested areas in the region, as well as in Samar and Negros provinces.

Aside from the three rebel attacks in Sorsogon, two more attacks were carried out by the communist rebels in Capiz province.

At around 1 a.m. yesterday, a detachment of government militiamen in Barangay Abangay in Tapaz town were attacked by some 15 communist rebels.

The militiamen stood their ground and drove away the rebels after 20 minutes of gunfight, according to a report reaching Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Almost an hour later, another group of communist rebels also tried to overrun another military detachment in Barangay Catipunan of the same town.

"This is the reason why we always advise our commanders to be always alert and vigilant," said Albayalde.

The escalation of communist rebel attacks was brought about by the cancellation of peace talks and the government's aggressive push on localized peace talks instead.

Recently, the government turned down requests to reciprocate the Christmas truce by the communist rebels.


Chief PNP Oscar Albayalde, during a press conference, gives updates on the Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections. (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)
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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Dec 18, 2018
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