Bohol remains a target of recovery effort of the New People’s Army, requiring continued deep community immersion of military intelligence units to foil communist fronts from facilitating the return of insurgency.
BGen. Arnulfo Matanguihan, commander of the 302nd Brigade confirmed having received intelligence report on the plan of the NPA to regain strongholds in Bohol.
One of the personalities to watch is Domingo Compoc, a 52-year-old native of barangay Dagohoy in Bilar, who is now leading the NPA in Negros and has three standing warrants of arrests for murder and rebellion.
Compoc and his wife, Marilyn Badayos- -a native of Cebu, have reportedly been in command of the Negros operation of NPA for around a decade already.
In 2007, Compoc was reported to have been wounded in an encounter with government troops in Bohol.
Matanguihan corrected earlier information leaked by other sources that Compoc had been spotted in Bohol, but said that he has to be watched for his connections here.
This is considering that Compoc used to be an NPA leader in Bohol during the communist terrorists’ heydays.
Being a native of Bilar and having previously influenced some groups here, Compoc could possibly be tapped to lead the revival attempt of NPA’s strongholds in Bohol.
“Si Compoc is taga-Bilar. Hindi naman namin sinasabing nandito s’ya or nakita s’ya dito. Ang sinasabi namin, taga-Bilar s’ya. S’ya ay dating leader din dito sa Bohol. Ngayon, ini-estimate namin na kung magkakaroon ng recovery dito saBohol, baka ipadala itong si Compoc, pero wala tayong specific report na nagsasabing nandito talaga s’ya or nakita talaga s’ya dito,” according to Matanguihan.
He added that the length of time that Compoc had led the NPA in Bohol must be taken into consideration to calculate the moves of the NPA.
The NPA might give premium to Compoc’s potentials in the recovery of some Bohol areas as their strongholds.
“May possibility dahil s’ya nga ay nagtagal dito sa Bohol. Kung mayro’n mang capable seguro na mag-recover dito at saka may mga contacts pa na maaring i-revive dahil nga matanda na rin ‘tong si Compoc, that is possible. Dahil nga tagarito s’ya at dating dito rin nag-leader as NPA, may mga kakilala na pupweding mag-reestablish ng contact,” Matanguihan explained.
Before this could happen, Matanguihan said the people in Bohol should already know that the NPA is trying to recover Bohol so that they could continue being vigilant and watch for the presence of Compoc.
“Kaya bago pa mangyari yon ay inuunahan na natin na maging magbantay tayo sa taong ito na posibleng gamitin ulit for the recovery of their strongholds in Bohol,” Matanguihan said.
The military and the people need to continue standing guard for Bohol against even the slightest indication of NPA’s recovery activities that might come through legal fronts.
Matanguihan said that Bohol security might be stable now, but the people should avoid being complacent as the rise of communist terrorists might surprise them after having penetrated the community in some other forms that involve no armed group.
The legal fronts’ ploy includes promises of benefits that are similar to what the government is providing to the people and discrediting government programs.
However, the military troops securing Bohol emphasized the significance of the people’s cooperation in blocking the revival of insurgency, the same community participation shown in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf Group recently.
Matanguihan said that peace and order in Bohol will remain stable as long as the people will continue with their vigilance.
“May mga report talaga na may plano sila na magkaroon ng recovery, to re-establish ‘yong fronts nila dito sa Bohol. So, it’s normal that they will do something. They will be able to recover Bohol kung wala tayong gagawin to address these issues ng recovery ng communist insurgency,” Matanguihan said.
At the current situation, he said the military is optimistic because the people show resistance to insurgency.
The military intelligence network monitored activities of the groups serving as legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-Democratic Front of the Philippines (CNN), trying to gain community support.
One of the identified groups suspected to be linked to CNN is the Trinidad-Talibon Integrated Farmers Association (TTIFA) which is under the Hukbong sa Mag-uumang Bol-anon umbrella.
The military monitored that the group had a meeting on June 3 where they tackled topics on “Boluntaryo (Bayanihan)”, communal farm, farm animals (carabao) and hand tractor, water irrigation and water bill update.
The group also discussed the plan to hold a rally in Tagbilaran City with a certain Neboy as speaker and Loren, Bigbig, together with four unidentified personalities- -one female and three males.
They then set another meeting on June 9 at an undisclosed location.
ARMED GROUP MONITORED
The military also received reports about armed men spotted in Trinidad, Baclayon and Antequera.
This was reported by Lt. Col. Joel Malig, commander of the 47th Infantry Battalion, during the joint meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) on June 29.
The first information was on the sighting of seven armed men at around 10:37 p.m. on June 22 in barangay Bongbong, Trinidad.
They were seen visiting some houses during the fiesta celebration on May 23 in the area.
At around 9:30 a.m. on June 3, five armed men accompanied by two women were sighted in barangay Brgy Cambanac, Baclayon.
Malig reported that one of them was seen carrying a homemade 12-gauge shot gun and a container filled with five liters of gasoline.
“Accordingly, said group were asking foodstuff from the operator of a rock crusher machine of undisclosed construction company. Then, the armed group left the area and proceeded towards the direction to barangay Buenaventura in the same municipality,” according to Malig.
At midnight on June 7, more or less five armed men and a woman were sighted at a quarry bunkhouse in barangay Cambanac, Baclayon.
It was learned that the group came from the more populous part of Cambanac.
At around 4 p.m. on June 11, more or less five armed men were also sighted at the house in barangay Tabuan, Antequera.