An undisclosed number of armed persons believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) rebels from Leyte and Negros Island may have entered the province, said a Philippine Army official on Wednesday.
According to Maj. Jose Pabon, executive officer of the Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion, the suspected rebel fighters likely entered the province to launch a “tactical offensive.”
It is possible that the move may have been intended to reestablish presence in Bohol while NPA forces are being hunted down in Leyte and Negros, said Pabon.
The Army official during a meeting of the Provincial Board’s peace and order committee said that the armed persons have been reportedly spotted in San Miguel, Trinidad, Mabini and Maribojoc.
The alleged rebels were sighted as they asked for food from residents in said towns, Pabon said.
Based on intelligence reports, the armed persons have been in the province since the first week of June.
They have reportedly been collecting “revolutionary taxes” from barangay captains and construction companies, added Pabon.
However, the official noted that they would only be able to fully confirm the group’s identity once government forces encounter the said armed persons.
According to Pabon, the Army battalion stationed in Bohol has enough forces and is ready to face the suspected rebel fighters should the reports on their presence be confirmed.
Last month, an intelligence report surfaced indicating that suspected NPA leader Domingo Compoc, a 52-year-old native of Barangay Dagohoy in Bilar, was spotted in Cebu and Bohol.
Compoc is believed to have assumed control of the NPA’s operations in Negros.
He has three standing warrants of arrest for charges of murder, direct assault and rebellion.
According to intelligence information, the suspected NPA commander is also known for the aliases Eloy, Bords, Laloy, Dadong, Anoy, Teloy, Cobra and recently Laser and Journey. (RT)