Govt launches pursuit operation vs NPA in Northern Mindanao

GOVERNMENT security forces launched a regionwide pursuit operation in Northern Mindanao against a group of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels that attacked and looted a town hall and police station in Bukidnon.

The PNP Chief, Director General Raul Bacalzo, sent Deputy Director General Raul L Castañeda, PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, to personally assess the situation in Northern Mindanao.

Government security forces are pursuing rebels belonging to the South Eastern Command (SECOM) 89 of the North-Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) of the CPP/NPA that figured in a raid on Malitbog town at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3.

NPA insurgents looted the Police Station of eight rifles, three handguns, two desktop computers, radio transceivers, and personal valuables.

The PNP chief placed under administrative relief the Provincial Director of Bukidnon, Senior Supt. Cristeto Rey Gonzalodo and Senior Inspector Alexander Eugenio, the chief of Malitbog Municipal Police Station.

The two officials will undergo investigation for apparent neglect of duty, operational lapses  and command responsibility precipitating in that unfortunate incident that  could have been prevented in the first place had the local PNP units heeded the guidance of National Headquarters to maintain operational readiness and initiate a pro-active defensive posture against possible hostilities by domestic threat groups.

The entire 24-man personnel complement of Malitbog MPS will be made to undergo retraining at the Regional Special Training Unit (RSTU). A platoon from the Regional Public Safety Management Battalion of PRO-10 will temporarily assume post as members of Malitbog MPS.

In that unfortunate incident in Bukidnon, the Chief  PNP noted the stark contrast of the Malitbog incident with two recent incidents of similar NPA hostilities in Panabo City, Davao del Norte and in Lianga, Surigao del Sur where members of the local police force successfully pushed back and inflicted casualties on attacking NPA insurgents.

“Gone are the days when the NPA can go on a killing and looting frenzy with impunity. With all the mission-essential resources we have poured on the lower units, we expect all Police Stations to be capable of defending their towns against the CPP-NPA.” Anthony Vargas

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