TACLOBAN CITY- A top regional official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said the recent harassment by the New People’s Army (NPA) was all just for show as they were trying to project their strength.
PNP Eastern Visayas Regional Director Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar said the armed rebels are incapable of launching major attacks or even fighting back government forces.
“The incident of harassment is alarming because it injured soldiers and policemen, but we are more than prepared to face them,” Beltejar said.
The police regional chief backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to terminate peace talks with the communist rebels frustrated by attacks against government troops.
“There are many violations committed by the NPAs indicating that they are not sincere about peace talks,” Beltejar told reporters Wednesday (July 26) night.
He reiterated his call to all units to be on alert against possible attacks after two policemen were wounded when rebels detonated an improvised explosive device targeting a police patrol car at a national road in Jiabong, Samar on Wednesday.
Police officers of Catarman, Northern Samar were heading to this city to attend a meeting when attacked around 12:15 p.m. in Barangay Jia-an, Jiabong town.
Samar police provincial director Supt. Nicolas Torre said about five NPA members planted the explosives to harm policemen.
“When we responded, they just ran away and not attempted to fight back. This is just pure harassment since they have no capability to really fight back,” Torre said.
Citing intelligence report, Beltejar said rebels in the region have not increased its numbers.
“We know their real strength. They’re just launching attacks as a strategy to project that they are strong,” he said.
The police have stepped up its security plan after the Communist Party of the Philippines asked its armed wing, the NPA, to launch “armed counteractions and offensives” across the country.
The violent action is a protest against the five-month extension of martial law in Mindanao.