PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Friday ordered the Police Regional Office (PRO) 5 headed by Brigadier Gen. Jonnel C. Estomo to give priority in addressing the presence of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Masbate province where they have launched a series of atrocities against civilians in the past months.
Just recently, a barangay captain and his companions survived an NPA attack in Placer municipality which took place just a few days after suspected leftist gunmen abducted and killed three street vendors whom they believed were acting as military informants in the town of Placer.
Last June, FEU and national football team player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven died during an ambush in Masbate City where the guerrillas detonated an improvised explosive device before raking the victims with automatic gunfire.
“Hindi sapat ang pagkondena sa kanilang mga pag-atake dahil hindi na tinatablan ng maanghang na salita at kahihiyan ang grupong ito. Inatasan ko na ang RD, PRO5, Police Brigadier Gen. Jonnel Estomo, na bigyan ng espesyal na atensyon ang Masbate sa kabila ng sunod-sunod na pag-atake ng CPP-NPA-NDF na ngayon ay tinatarget ang mga sibilyan sa Masbate,” the PNP chief said.
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap ito at kailangan nang putulin ang karahasang ito laban sa mga kababayan natin sa Masbate,” added the PNP chief who is currently inspecting his men in Bicol.
Part of the top cop’s order is to strengthen the police-community relations in Masbate to deny the CPP-NPA-NDF its mass support base and eventually clear the entire province of its influence.
The PNP chief likewise placed the entire PRO8 in Eastern Visayas under high alert after a successful military operation that killed at least 19 communist rebels in Eastern Samar.
A separate firefight in the same province also resulted in the death of a policeman and an armed NPA member.