Army, PNP on alert vs SPARU attacks

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Both the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Western Visayas warned their personnel against possible attacks by New People’s Army (NPA)’s units.

While SParU attacks were mounted to commemorate the founding anniversaries of the NPA or Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), on March 29 and December 26, respectively, the series of blows the rebel group suffered in recent weeks might trigger retaliations by the rebels.

SParU refers to the Special Partisan Unit of the NPA which carries out high-profile assassination missions.

Military and police reports indicated that the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay (KR-P) has “let loose” a strike force in the central part of Panay.

The primary targets could be government troops deployed to far-flung villages, uniformed personnel securing government projects, PNP personnel, and unwary government troops.

“We have monitored since last year that they would conduct SParU -led operations to establish that they are a force to reckon with,” according to Major Cenon Pancito III, Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson.

With the advent of the election period, the NPAs saw the opportune time to heighten their alleged extortion activities.

“For them to do that, they should instill fear and terror. And they would do “reference” incidents if only to threaten politicians, businessmen, or the public into giving in to their demand,” Pancito said.

That was mostly the case in Negros Island. But recently, there have been reports of possible SParU movement in Central Panay

“Still, we constantly remind our troops, especially those deployed for Community Support Program, to be wary of attacks,” Pancito said.

The CSP is a people-centered program, which aims to bring peace and development in conflict-affected barangays. It is an initiative of state forces to bring the government closer to the people through an immediate delivery of basic services, especially to grassroots communities.

The CSP teams will act as facilitators in addressing the issues on the exploitation of the communist terrorists in the communities in collaboration with various national government agencies (NGAs), local government agencies (LGAs), LGUs, and other stakeholders.

“Some of our CSP facilitators might have been complacent. That’s why, they have to assess their relationship with the community and the populace,” he said.

They were reminded on how they are supposed to travel and deal with the people.

Pancito said the rebels have been targeting CSP operators because the NPA has been hurting because of their initiatives.

“Nawawalan na sila ng support from the community,” he said.

The rebels allegedly used to extort P5 per week from every family.

“Pero ngayon hindi na nila nagagawa ‘yan,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) spokesperson, said that they have alerted all personnel of possible attacks, following the clash between Philippine Army troops in Dolores, Eastern Samar on August 16.

The incident led to the death of 19 rebels.

Malong said they haven’t pulled out any CSP troops.

“But we have instructed them to always be on alert when it comes to their personal security,” she said.

They were also told to monitor the area and have coordinated movements.

PRO-6 mobile force companies are conducting proactive combat operations to thwart possible NPA attacks.