Luis was taking a stroll in his garden when New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, armed with M16 rifles and clad in camouflage uniforms, opened fire at close range. AP/Aaron Favila, File

NPAs kill councilor, cop in new attacks
(The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels stepped up their offensive against the government, killing a local official and a policeman in separate attacks in Cagayan and Camarines Norte yesterday.

Police said Baggao town Councilor Angelo Luis died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds.

Luis was taking a stroll in his garden when New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, armed with M16 rifles and clad in camouflage uniforms, opened fire at close range.

Cagayan provincial police director Senior Supt. Warren Tolito said at least 20 rebels stormed the house and killed Luis before fleeing.

NPA rebels also attacked and killed a policeman and wounded six others in an ambush in Labo, Camarines Norte.

PO2 Richard Abad of the Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) died on the spot while six of his colleagues were wounded during the attack in Sitio Binuang, Barangay Daguit.

Initial reports identified the wounded policemen as PO2s Ronald Gutierrez, Erickson de Vera, PO1s Jeffrey Tarrobago, Pedro Valeros, Romar Umandap and Johnson Espana.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Cerilo Trilles Jr. said nine policemen were on two patrol vehicles on their way back to the provincial headquarters in Daet when the rebels waylaid them.

The policemen engaged the rebels in a firefight until reinforcements from the provincial police and military arrived.

The rebels fled the scene with no immediate reports if they also suffered casualties.

The police and military have launched pursuit operations against the rebels.

The NPA’s Henry Abraham East Cagayan Command owned up to the killing of Luis, accusing the victim of working undercover for the military.

Luis has been critical of the NPA’s extortion against local businessmen, traders and contractors in the province, police said.

Tolito said the rebels are attacking the construction sites in the province and burning heavy equipment used for the construction of the road going to Baggao and other government projects.

“This is the very advocacy Luis is espousing – a clean and good government for the people, that cost his life. Let us not waste it,” Tolito said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa slammed the NPA for the treacherous attacks.

Dela Rosa said they expected the NPA to resort to dirty warfare.

“They (NPA) waited for the policemen. That’s deceit,” he said.

Dela Rosa they would have wanted to avoid casualties in armed conflicts with the communist rebels.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That’s part of the game,” he said.

The communists threatened to wage “more frequent and more intensified attacks” against the government once President Duterte formally tags the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the NPA as terrorist groups.

Duterte has ordered security forces to shoot communist rebels bearing firearms as he revealed an executive order is being prepared to declare the NPA as a terrorist group.

Duterte also threatened to tag all “legal fronts” of the CPP-NPA as criminals and have them arrested for conspiracy.

Duterte has cancelled all future peace talks with the communist rebels, blaming the insurgents for deadly attacks against soldiers and police while the National Democratic Front (NDF), the umbrella organization representing the CPP-NPA, is holding peace negotiations with the government.

The CPP, through the NPA, has been waging an insurgency since 1968.

Peace talks to end the conflict, which the military said has claimed 30,000 lives, have been conducted on and off for three decades.

They were revived last year after Duterte was elected president, with Norway and the Netherlands hosting the negotiations.

Duterte had shelved a round of negotiations in May and informal talks in July this year, citing treacherous NPA attacks on government forces. – Celso Amo, Victor Martin, Raymund Catindig, Cet Dematera

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