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Banac: Samar peacekeeping troops to ensure peaceful May 9 polls

March 22, 2022 People's Tonight 1037 views

BanacMEMBERS of a Samar Peacekeeping Mission are already deployed in five provinces in the island to help keep peace and order before, during and after the May 9 national and local elections by going all-out against all threats to security including the New People’s Army and private armed groups and their loose weapons, Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) director, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac told the Journal Group yesterday.

The member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) ‘Tanglaw Diwa’ Class of 1992 sent at least 235 members of the Peacekeeping Mission to their new assignments while undergoing a Basic Internal Security Operations Course.

Banac said the policemen are now deployed in CAGASMAS areas which is short for Calbayog City and the municipalities of Gandara, Sta. Margarita, Matuguinao and San Jorge as part of the PRO8 Regional Special Operations Task Group.

“Their presence in CAGASMAS is part of our efforts to have safe and orderly national and local elections following the instructions of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Dionardo B. Carlos to level up preparations for a SAFE 2022 NLE,” said the PRO8 director who just like Gen. Carlos used to be a PNP spokesperson.

Gen. Carlos also used to be a PRO8 director.

Last Wednesday, security forces encountered a group of heavily-armed NPA guerrillas in Jiabong, Samar killing two of the rebels who turned out to be long wanted top NPA couple, Brig. Gen. Banac said.

The Eastern Visayas police director said the two slain suspects were identified as Amado Adelantar alias ‘Butil/Commander Butil’ and his party wife Maria Norie Adelantar alias’ Cedang.’

The male Adelantar was a commanding officer of a CPP/NPA Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee while his wife was identified as a finance officer of the same rebel group, the official said in a report to Carlos.

Brig. Gen. Banac said members of the 12th Special Action Battalion of the PNP Special Action Force, Jiabong Municipal Police Station, Samar Police Provincial Office’s Provincial Intelligence Unit and the Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion clashed with the suspects as the troops were checking the reported presence of armed men in Barangay Alejandrea.

He added that the government forces were fired upon by the armed suspects prompting them to retaliate hitting the two suspects whose identities were validated by some former NPA rebels who have surrendered to authorities in the province.

The two were given first-aid by the troops and taken to the Samar Provincial Hospital where an attending physician declared them dead upon arrival.

Brig. Gen. Banac said a SOCO team and operatives from the Samar Explosives and Canine Unit recovered one KG9 sub-machine gun without serial number carried by ‘Ka Butil’ while his wife yielded a caliber .9mm semi-automatic pistol with serial no. 053222.

Two loaded magazines, one MK2 hand grenade, one improvised hand grenade and suspected NPA documents were also recovered at the scene of the gunfight.

Banac said a record check showed ‘Ka Butil’ is facing a number of criminal charges including robbery with homicide, robbery with multiple homicide, robbery-homicide and two counts of murder.

“The male suspect is the subject of seven warrants of arrest issued by different courts in the region,” said the PRO8 director. As of press time, the official said follow-up operations are still underway to get the rest of the gunmen.

Brig. Gen. Banac commended the prompt response of the Samar police and the Army’s 87th IB which is under the 8th Infantry Division headed by Major Gen. Edgardo de Leon in checking the reported presence of the armed rebels in the area.

“Our efforts to end local communist and armed conflict continues. This successful accomplishment of our men in the ground with our AFP counterparts is a noteworthy achievement pinning down leaders of the CPP-NPAs operating in the Samar areas apart from recovering assorted firearms and documents from said rebels,” he said.

The official said their RSOTG will also help prevent and address election-related incidents that may occur in the region which is known for its history of poll violence specifically in Samar where there is a known intense rivalry among different political factions.

Brig. Gen. Banac said the RSOTG is composed of officers from the PRO8 Regional Headquarters, Forensic Group, Regional Mobile For Battalion 8, Regional Maritime Unit 8, Regional Highway Patrol Unit, Regional Civil Security Group, Regional Intelligence Unit, and the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit.

Western Samar has been previously identified as among the top election-watchlist areas in the country which is being monitored by the PNP and the Armed Forces ahead of every national and local election.

The presence of NPA rebels as well as private armed groups is among the major threats to the election being considered by security troops in the area.