Bohol is still considered free of communist insurgents even amid the previously reported presence of unidentified armed persons believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in various towns.
This was bared by Philippine Army Lt. Col. Eufracio Malig Jr., commander of the Bohol-based 47th Infantry Battalion, during the Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting on Friday.
According to Malig, there have been no reported entries of armed groups into the province after the fatal ambush allegedly carried out by the NPA against Negros Oriental policemen last week.
Based on reports that reached the Police Regional Office 18 in Negros Island, 15 to 20 unidentified armed men left Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental at night on July 22, two days after the said attack.
The men reportedly left on board a pumpboat and headed towards an unknown direction.
This prompted Gov. Edgar Chatto on Sunday to alert officials across the province asking for vigilance and ordering heightened security particularly in coastal areas.
While no entry of suspected lawless elements had been monitored recently, reports on the movements of suspicious personalities across Bohol surfaced even prior to the ambush in Negros.
Citing previous reports, Malig said that nine unidentified men armed with long firearms were allegedly spotted in Barangay Caluasan, San Miguel and Isumod River in Barangay Dagohoy in Danao on July 3.
The men were reportedly headed towards Sitio Maonglini, Barangay Kauswagan in Trinidad, said Malig.
On July 12, four men armed with high-powered guns were purportedly sighted also in Barangay Kauswagan in Trinidad and were going inside various houses in Barangay San Vicente of said town.
According to Malig, four suspicious-looking men and woman were allegedly seen in Barangay Catigbian in Buenavista heading towards Purok 5 of said village on July 15.
The woman’s height was approximately 5’2 and she was wearing a black jacket, said Malig.
While in Anda, five unidentified armed men walking barefoot and carrying large backpacks were allegedly seen in Sitio Baclaran, Barangay Tawid on July 15.
They were headed towards Barangay Katipunan in Anda, said Malig.
Meanwhile, the military also monitored seven activities including a rally, meetings and solicitation and other movements of various groups in the province in the past month.
However, Malig clarified that security forces continue to investigate the alleged sightings and movements of suspicious individuals in various Bohol towns.
The Army official is optimistic that once they apprehend one of the suspected armed men, they would be able to identify the entire group.
In the same meeting, Malig also thanked the public for their support to the military through relaying reports of suspicious individuals and activities.
He urged residents to maintain their vigilance amid the purported threats. (Rey Tutas)