By Jennifer P. Rendon
Where is patriotism and pro-people’s concern in launching attacks on government’s development initiatives?
This was the response of Colonel Gilbert Gorero, Iloilo police chief, after the New People’s Army (NPA)’s Coronacion “Waling-Waling” Chiva Command issued a statement owning up to the botched “bombing” incident at Barangay Canawili, Janiuay, Iloilo on March 3, 2021.
“Their goal is to sow terror and they don’t care who will get hurt or, worse, killed,” he said.
No one was hurt after an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded while personnel of the PNP Regional Mobile Force Battalion 6 (RFMB-6) were conducting clearing operation and road security for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Agro Forestry Support Facility sub project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at Barangay Panuran, Janiuay, Iloilo.
The incident happened an hour before the program was supposed to start.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. was supposed to attend the event but decided against it, as he had just arrived from Manila.
The groundbreaking rites pushed through with officials from the DENR attending the event.
The bomb did not inflict damage as it was dubbed as a “low detonation.”
But Julio Montana, spokesperson of NPA-Panay, claimed that what happened was a ‘legitimate action” against the PNP personnel.
Montana alleged they had no intention of attacking or hurting Defensor or Mayor Ben Margarico of Janiuay town, and even civilians in the area.
Montana also warned civilians against going with or riding with military or police personnel.
But Gorero believed that the statement was a poor attempt on the part of the NPA to “save face” after their botched attempt not only to harm government troops but possibly other attendees of the program.
“It is clear that they wanted to sow terror and we condemn this act. What they say was a justification that was far from the truth,” he said.
The Iloilo’s top cop said the activity where police and military personnel were sent to secure was for the people of Janiuay town.
“And making such an attack is a clear manifestation that they’re trying to stop the development that would benefit the people of upland barangays,” he said.
Even earlier, the PNP surmised that the incident in Janiuay was a handiwork of the local terrorists, as it is also akin to what happened in Tubungan town on December 17, wherein an IED exploded as members of Tubungan PNP were conducting mobile patrol.
The IED appeared to have been planted far enough from the vehicle that the explosion only broke its window on the driver side and left scratches and holes on the left portion.
After the explosion, residents claimed to have seen two teenagers running away from the area.