World Bulletin/News Desk
Philippine security forces were on full alert Sunday following four attacks by communist rebels across the country - including the murders of a town councilor and a soldier, and attacks on a plantation and a government feeding program.
Army Spokesman Major Christian Uy said troops have been ordered to be extra vigilant against attacks and sabotage by the New People's Army (NPA) insurgency, with marching orders to counter any offensive.
Meanwhile, Police Spokesman Sr. Supt. Jose Bayani Gucela announced that all police outposts in the country had also been given strict orders.
On Saturday night, NPA members clad in national police uniforms attacked a Del Monte Philippines plantation in Tubay town in the southernmost major island of Mindanao, burning a crop duster plane.
Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, 4th Infantry Division commander, said, "Five attackers set fire to an agricultural airplane owned by the Philippine Agricultural Aviation Corporation."
Stating that the attack happened 300 meters from a police detachment, he added, “The NPA is now resorting to attacking soft targets using small groups just to get even [with] us."
Security forces also continued their hunt Sunday for NPA rebels who shot dead a soldier in the central Philippines’ Northern Samar province Friday.
Army Spokesman Lt. Col. Erwin Alea said Staff Sgt. Marciano Padilla, a detachment commander, had been heading to his post on motorcycle when some 15 guerillas flagged the vehicle and shot him.
Earlier that day, communist rebels had opened fire on a government feeding in the province’s Catubig town, sending villagers scampering for safety. No one was hurt.
Lt. Col. Erwin Alea, 8th Infantry Division spokesman, condemned the attack Sunday, saying it occurred during a program for 22 students at an elementary school, attended by troops, social workers and community volunteers.
Five rebels fired from hidden positions some 100 meters away from the school, according to Alea, resulting in soldiers returning fire and securing the civilians present.
Meanwhile, the NPA operating in Mindinao’s Misamis Oriental province has claimed responsibility for the killing of town councilor Cecilio Abujan last Thursday in Bagocboc village.
Allan Juanito, regional NPA spokesman, said during a radio interview that Abujan was a warlord who threatened farmers and stole their water buffaloes. He also accused the late councilor of involvement in illegal logging and of receiving money from mining operators.
Abujan had been traversing Bagocboc on motorcycle when he was gunned down. Ten empty bullets were recovered by responding authorities from the crime site.
In another statement to media, NPA spokesman Efren Aksasato claimed Saturday that a soldier had been killed and six others wounded in a series of encounters in South Cotabato province in Mindanao.
He accused security forces of acting as "private security guards" for mining companies despite opposition from farmers and residents and of “butchering anti-mining activists.” The statement also alleged that peace and development operations by South Cotabato Governor Daisy Fuentes were “just 'cover' for the military offensive in the province."
The NPA -- the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines -- has been waging an insurgency since 1969 that has left tens of thousands of people dead.
The group espouses that what it considers to be the Philippines’ three major problems – U.S. imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and feudalism – can be solved through a protracted people’s war operating out of rural bases in the countryside.
Philippine authorities have tagged the NPA rebels as notorious extortionists and blamed them for harassing banana, pineapple and rubber plantations, as well as poultry farms and mining outfits.
President Benigno Aquino had aimed to reach a peace deal with the communists by the end of his term in 2016. But the government last year said talks had collapsed due to rebel demands that detained comrades be freed.Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ağustos 2014, 13:55