“Desperate” NPA rebels ambush civilians: 1 hurt
Jennifer P. Rendon (The Freeman) - August 31, 2018 - 12:00am

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — A woman was injured after New People’s Army rebels ambushed a group of employees of a power generation company at the hinterland village of Igcabugao in Igbaras town of Iloilo at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

 

The five employees of the Century Peak Energy Corporation (CPEC) were on their way back to their office after conducting a site survey of its hydro-electric power project.

While they were navigating sitio Cinampuhan, suspected rebels fired at them, injuring Shella Mae Estevez, 28, CPEC safety officer, who was hit on her lower right leg. The other employees were physically unscathed.

Colonel Benedict Arevalo, Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade commander, said members of the 61st Infantry Battalion’s Bravo Company and some CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) members responded to the area. “They were just a few hundred meters from the crime scene, that’s why there was an immediate response,” Arevalo said.

It was gathered that the soldiers escorted the CPEC employees at their site inspection. But the military personnel were left behind as the CPEC employees left on board a civilian vehicle.

Arevalo said around 10 members of the NPA-Komiteng Rehiyon Panay’s Southern Front Committee exchanged gunfire with responding soldiers.

The rebels later withdrew towards a forested portion of Igcabugao village while the the wounded Estevez was brought to the Rep. Pedro Trono Memorial Hospital in Guimbal town for treatment.

Wednesday’s encounter was the sixth NPA attack since July 21 this year. The first was at Barangay Katipunan in Tapaz, Capiz, then at Barangay Alimodias in Miagao, Iloilo on August 21, and four days later at Barangay Cabatangan in Lambunao, Iloilo

On August 15, an encounter with the NPA took place at Barangay Atabay in San Jose, Antique, and nine days later at Isian Victoria in Leon, Iloilo.

But the biggest blow to the NPA was the Aug. 25 clash with soldiers that resulted in the killing of seven ranking officers of the NPA-KRP’s Regional Taxation Implementation Group (RTIG).

“Their extortion activities were really affected. They’re getting desperate because they have been financially deprived,” Arevalo told The Freeman.

The military also recovered from the ambush site extortion letters addressed to individuals and companies, one of which was for CPEC, Arevalo confirmed.

“They’ve been affected by our series of operations. And we’re going to hit them harder where it hurts them the most,” Arevalo said, referring to the combat operations to deny rebels of extorting money from civilians and companies. “They’re very sensitive when it comes to money. As I’ve said, there was no ideology in this group,” he added.

Arevalo said the Phil. Army and the PNP in Panay have been doing coordinated efforts in launching anti-insurgency campaign.

He also urged human rights groups and advocates of human rights to condemn NPA’s attack on civilians. He said that what happened was a clear violation of human rights of civilians and Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL).

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