The New People’s Army (NPA) has still not reestablished a stronghold and regained mass base support in Bohol, said Batuan Mayor Antonio Jumawid as reports of rebel movements have been surfacing in the province particularly in his town.
“There’s an attempt na mo balik sa ilang mga base sauna pero as of now, wala pa man g’yud sila maka-establish og politico-military government,” said Jumawid in an interview over station dyRD on Wednesday.
According to Jumawid, the recent killings that have been linked to the NPA were mostly targeted attacks against longtime offenders of policies of the rebel group and former members who have returned to the fold of the law or previous supporters who have turned their backs on the leftist movement.
The mayor assured that the general public remains safe considering that the attacks were mostly against those who have crossed the rebel group.
“Sa explaination sa atong mga intelligence officials, mga utang na sauna kanang mga gipanghilabtan, mga returning or former [rebels] na nag-CAFGU, mga ngana,” said Jumawid.
“Safe man ang mga taw kay wa may hilabtan na giingon na dili g’yud target, kay sa tanang gihilabtan mura’g target na sila sauna pa sukad pa mga 2000,” he added.
The mayor said that the NPA has not been able to reestablish a “politico-military” government in which they have functioning court and taxation systems like in the 1990s and early 2000s when Bohol was still a hotbed for insurgency.
The communist guerrillas have also failed to regain the support of communities while they have not resorted to their known extortion operation done through the collection of the so-called “revolutionary tax.”
Meanhwile, the Batuan LGU has been coordinating with the Philippine Army and the provincial government in efforts to suppress the NPA’s attempt to regain significant support and presence in the province which has been deemed insurgency free since 2010.
One of the latest alleged NPA attacks in Batuan was the murder of Pio Lingatong, 52, an ambulance driver for the Batuan LGU who was gunned down by heavily armed men in Barangay Aloja in January.
The fatal shooting of Lingatong was the fourth attack allegedly perpetrated by members of the NPA in a span of less than three months which have all been in the interior portion of Bohol, particularly Batuan.
Men who claimed to be NPA rebels gunned down 66-year-old Germenihelda Dologuin in the adjacent municipality of Sevilla on December 19.
On November 22, former Philippine Army soldier Kenneth Cordero was critically shot by a still unidentified gunman who was armed with a long firearm and who claimed to be an NPA member in Batuan.
He sustained a gunshot wound in his abdomen while his face was grazed with a bullet.
Also in Batuan, alleged NPA rebels shot dead Diosdado Diez, 48, who was a former Army reservists who continued to work as an asset for the PA.
Diez was flagged down by at least five alleged rebels then gunned down while driving his motorcycle with his niece, a minor, on board. The girl was left unscathed during the attack. (R. Tutas)