By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – All police and military units in northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region) have been raised to “full alert level” as communist-New People’s Army (NPA) rebels stepped up their offensive in some parts of the region.
The regional command of Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) and Advance Command Post (ACP) of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID) placed all their entire units in “offensive mode” to stop the atrocities perpetrated by the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
All field unit commanders of the PRO 13 and 4th ID were ordered to strengthen their respective headquarters’ defense perimeter and conduct round-the-clock combat patrol in an effort to secure the villagers and stop further atrocities by the NPAs.
The “full alert” level status came out after an undetermined number of heavily armed NPA rebels harassed the patrol base of the 2nd Maneuver Company of the 13th Regional Public Safety Battallion (2nd MC, 13th RPSB) at 9:50 a.m. on Tuesday at Sitio Little Baguio, Barangay Crossing, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.
However, the fighting force of the 2nd MC, 13th RPSB under Inspector Jefferson E. Reyes and “Bravo Company” of the 29th Infantry Battalion (29th IB), led by 2Lt. Geoffrey Escanlar, together with Senior Inspector Andrev Bautista, acting company commander of 2nd MC, 13th RPS fought back the raiders for one hour and five minutes until the NPAs dis-engaged from the gunfight and withdrew towards the northeast direction to the nearby mountainous area of Little Baguio in that same town, police report said.
“No casualty on the government side while undetermined number on the enemy (NPA) side,” initial field report received by the PRO 13 tactical command and action center based at Camp Rafael C. Rodriguez here noted..
Combat maneuvering troops of the 29th IB under the command of Lt. Col. Glen Aynera, supported by the 2nd MC, 13th RPSB were still pursuing the fleeing NPA rebels, field report said.
At 11 a.m. on the same day (Nov. 14), an undetermined number of heavily armed men believed to be members of NPA also conducted a road blockade for more than 30 minutes along the national highway in Sitio Banga, Purok 2, Barangay Cuyago, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte creating panic among commuters, the police report said.
While conducting the road blockade, the NPAs also razed to the ground one unit of Isuzu Forward Van loaded with Fortune cigarettes and one unit of Isuzu 10-Wheeler Truck loaded with empty bottles of beer.
The Isuzu Forward Van and Isuzu 10-Wheeler Truck were traveling from Surigao City heading toward Butuan City when flagged down by 30 armed men, believed to be members of NPA, Shortly thereafter, the vehicles were set afire along the national highway in Sitio Banga, police said.
The NPA road block and the burning incident happened about 9 to 10 kilometers away from Jabonga Municipal Police Station (MPS) of Agusan del Norte Police Provincial Office (PPO)..
After the burning incident, the perpetrators hastily fled to north in the direction of nearby forested area of Barangay Cuyago, of that same town, with none of the commuting public, including the drivers and helpers of the burned trucks, being harmed.
As of press time, elements of Jabonga MPS were still investigating the burning incident and the value of the damage is still being validated.
The regional command of PRO 13 deployed more troops from the regional and provincial mobile force to help hunt down the fleeing NPAs.
“The regional command of PRO 13 condemned this dastardly act of the NPAs,PRO 13 spokesperson Chief Inspector Renel E. Serrano said.
He added that PRO 13 Regional Director Chief Supt. Rolando B. Felix ordered all field unit commanders to personally supervise their respective units in the security operations of their respective areas of responsibility (AOR) and secure the residents at all cost.
On Monday afternoon, NPA rebels also abducted 2 policemen while performing as beat patrollers in Barangay (village) Bad-as, Placer town, Surigao del Norte. Their fate is still not known as of this posting.
Also on Monday, suspected NPA rebels ambushed a convoy belonging to the Surigao del Norte Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) in Barangay Trinidad, Surigao City.
The ambush occurred around 5 p.m. when elements of Surigao del Norte PMFC led by its commander Supt. Diomedes Cuadra Jr., were en route to Surigao City. No one was hurt in the incident, police report also added.
Meanwhile, the 4th ID condemned and strongly criticized the NPA’s attempt to justify their act after they allegedly murdered an infant and a policeman on November 9, 2017, in Barangay Tikalaan, Talakag town, Bukidnon, saying it only aggravates the pains and sufferings of not only the bereaved families but every single peace-loving Filipinos who feel the loss of these precious lives.
The 4th ID chief pledged that there will be no let-up on their all-out drive against the NPAs.
Tags: 29th Infantry battalion, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Eastern Mindanao, Manila Bulletin, Mindanao Police Regional Office, New People’s Army (NPA), Police military units in Caraga region placed on full alert vs NPAs