PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Saturday ordered the Police Regional Office (PRO) 8 to step-up their offensive against the New People’s Army (NPA) and undertake a “search-and-destroy” operation against “landmine factories” being operated by the rebels in Eastern Visayas region.
In a directive to PRO8 director Brigadier Gen. Rommel Bernardo Cabagnot, the top cop said he wants the Eastern Visayas police to also heighten their security measures to thwart possible NPA retaliatory attacks in the wake of a series of defeats they have suffered at the hands of the police and the military.
Eleazar issued the directive after the Army discovered a site being used by local NPA guerrillas to manufacture anti-personnel mines or landmines in Eastern Samar.
A recent raid by soldiers from the Army 8th Infantry Division at an NPA camp in Dolores, Eastern Samar resulted in the death of at least 19 leftist gunmen and the recovery of a cache of weapons and ammunition.
Prior to the ground operation, the military pounded the NPA lair with precision bombs before troops overrun the site following a 13-hour gunbattle.
The PNP has condemned the continuous manufacture and use by the rebels of anti-personnel mines or land mines which is a violation of International Humanitarian Law .
Eleazar said it shows that the CPP/NPA has no remorse for the death of innocent civilians including Far Eastern University and national football team player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven who were killed by landmines.
“Hindi tayo hihinto hangga’t hindi natin tuluyang napipigilan ang mga pag-atake at panggugulo ng mga rebeldeng ito sa ating mga komunidad. I have tasked all police units in the area to be on heightened alert to thwart attacks by these rebels who have been targeting innocent civilians,” Eleazar said.
“Alam naman ng mga rebeldeng komunista na labag ang paggamit ng mga ito sa International Humanitarian Law dahil sa pinsalang dulot nito sa mga inosenteng sibilyan. Patunay lang na desperado at wala na talagang pakialam ang CPP/NPA kung may madamay man na sibilyan para lang palabasin na sila ay malakas pa kahit batid nilang paubos na ang kanilang puwersa,” he added.
The PNP chief has encouraged local residents to report to authorities if they have information on the presence of NPA rebels as well as on sites being used by the communists to manufacture the banned landmines.