By Tara Yap
Iloilo City — The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) is urging rural folk in Panay and Negros Islands to stop supporting the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
“Stop believing and supporting the NPA,” Major Gen. Jon Aying, 3ID chief, said.
Aying made appeal after the rebel group launched attacks in Panay and Negros in the last two weeks.
On June 18, a truckload of NPA fighters took over a police station in Maasin town, Iloilo province, handcuffing the officers on duty and taking away their weapons.
Stung by the daylight raid, police officials chided Maasin residents for not warning the station by phone or text message about the approaching rebels. The officials also insinuated that some of the residents may be NPA sympathizers.
The NPA also took responsibility for the June 22 killing of a businessman and a driver in Calatrava, Negros Occidental, for reportedly refusing to pay the “revolutionary tax” demanded by the rebels.
On June 30, troops from the Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion clashed with NPA guerrillas in Sandayao village, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, who were allegedly trying to recruit new members.
Aying said the NPA wants to prove it is still a potent force despite the misunderstandings between its leadership and the National Democratic Front (NDF) that is negotiating peace with the Duterte administration.