Gov't troops on high alert against diversionary attacks of communist rebels

Posted on March 15, 2014

KORONADAL -- Government troops remain on high alert for possible diversionary attacks from members of New People’s Army (NPA) following a firefight in Matanao, Davao del Sur and Tulunan, North Cotabato earlier this week.

Last Wednesday, some 40 armed NPA guerillas attacked a military detachment in Barangay Paraiso, Tulunan, North Cotabato, but the outnumbered soldiers of 38th Infantry Battalion were able to defend their camp, said Captain Antonio C. Bulao, spokesperson of 602nd Infantry Brigade.

Earlier on Monday, seven soldiers in Matanao station were killed in an ambush by members of the communist guerrilla group. Two policemen and two civilians were killed too after the firefight.

Mr. Bulao said the rebels used land mines against the responding troops from the 39th Infantry Battalion. The military has been hunting down the rebels in the mountains of Davao del Sur since Monday. The hunt led to the killing of two rebels and the arrest of nine others, Mr. Bulao told local media.

The firefight in Tulunan, North Cotabato lasted 30 minutes with no casualties reported. The incident, according to Mr. Bulao, was an attempt by the rebels to divert the military’s ongoing hunt for rebels in the mountains of Davao del Sur. Tulunan, North Cotabato shares a boundary with Matanao, Davao del Sur.

Mr. Bulao said police stations are the targets of rebel attacks since they cannot take down military detachments which generally have more men. “We have advised police stations to be alert too as we are ready to back them up at all time,” he said.

Ronaldo L. Llanera, chief of the Davao del Sur police, said community police units and barangay peacekeeping forces have been alerted. The whole province is on full alert, he said. -- Louie O. Pacardo