Contributed by Joseph Gregorio
Tourists in Bauko, Mountain Province are advised from visiting spots in some areas in the municipality following recent fighting between Leftist guerrillas and the Cordillera police.
The Bauko Municipal Government through its municipal tourism officer Arsenia Addon announced that all booked tourism activities have been cancelled as the Regional Police Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the Cordillera Police are pursuing fighters of the Leonardo Pacsi Command-New People’s Army (LPC-NPA).
“We appreciate your understanding for the inconvenience,” Addon said.
The Cordillera police have reportedly launched operations in the are to “flush out” NPA fighters/
The LPC-NPA in a statement Sunday said it ambushed operating troops of the RPSB at around 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon in Mt. Makilakilat of the adjacent northern barangays of the municipality of Tadian.
The NPA said the ambush frustrated Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) operations in the area following an earlier encounter that killed a police officer and wounded another.
Last Saturday, in time for the NPA’s 50th founding anniversary, the LPC-NPA engaged in a fire fight with an RPSB unit at around 9:45 AM in Mt. Gunggung-o in Barangay Bagnen, Bauko.
LPC spokesperson Magno Udyaw said the fire fight lasted for 15 minutes.
The ongoing police operation in Tadian is a bid to save their face from its loss, Udyaw said.
Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CDPF) spokesperson Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan for his part said the AFP and PNPs claim that the ongoing operations is to simply flush out the NPA in Mountain Province is preposterous.
“In its frantic scramble to claim that they are having the upper hand in their counter-revolutionary campaign, PNP and AFP mouthpieces and spin masters resort to crying in the media and blabbering gibberish in social media to cover up their losses,” Naogsan said.
The NPA said it launched the March 29 attack to punish the RPSB as well as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for protecting plunderous large-scale mines, logging and energy businesses.
Udyaw said numerous cases of human rights violations are being committed such as harassments, indiscriminate pointing and firing of rifles, and confiscation of lumber intended for housing and community use during government troops operations.
He added that corruption is also rampant as DENR and police officials sell or take for personal use whatever they have sequestered from locals. #