Anyone who would claim to be a member of any of the rebel groups should be reported, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto reminded everyone during the recent meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) at the Governor’s Mansion.
When a person says he is NPA, report immediately to authorities, the governor instructed.
The governor’s statement supported the previous statements issued by 47th Infantry Battalion commanding officer Lt. Col. Eufracio Malig.
Malig earlier reacted to a question about the proper protocol for strangers claiming to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who approach civilians asking for help or money.
Without appearing to be intimidated, find a way to report this, Malig urged.
NPAs are outlaws, they are armed, so we would appreciate if you could get more information from them, the young officer explained.
Both statements fit to the need of Boholanos to be reaffirmed that Bohol has been declared insurgency-free since 2010, after getting hounded by decades-long of wrestling withe communist insurgents since the early 1970.
At least a Boholano businessman came forward to ask for help after falling to a false claim, allegedly by NPAs.
Alleged members of the NPAs approached the business man asking for two Armalite rifles.
He allegedly haggled and gave a hefty sum worth a rifle through his helper who sent it through a pera-padala facility.
The recipients of the money however disappeared, even the phone numbers the businessman and the alleged NPAs used to have communicate have gone off, leaving the businessman a few thousand pesos poorer.
Adding to Malig’s statement, 302nd Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Matanguihan also reminded members of the PPOC in a joint meeting with the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) that most NPAs do not just divulge their identities.
Earlier in the meeting, 3rd Infantry Division officer Army Major Gen. John Aying, who joined the meeting in Bohol revealed that among the threats Bohol face is the continuing efforts by the insurgents to return.
Groups are trying to recover their lost grounds, the battle-tested officer added as rejoinder.
On this, the governor retorted: “We must not let our guards down.”
We have been declared insurgency-free and are insurgent normalized, the challenge then is to be able to prevent their resurgence, Aying presented the fact to Boholanos in the councils.
Anyone claiming he is NPA must be invited for questioning, the governor said clarifying that an invitation is not an arrest.
Over all these, local officials jointly urge communities in Bohol to be more vigilant, keep the guards to repel and deny the insurgents the chance to strike fear again. (RAC/PIA)