By AARON RECUENCO
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP), yesterday ordered lawmen to launch counterattacks against the New People’s Army (NPA) after they killed five policemen and wounded two others in an ambush in Labo, Camarines Norte Friday.
In a statement, Eleazar said the ambush was motivated by the refusal of the construction firm building the Tagkawayan (Quezon)-Labo Road to yield to the demand of the NPA to pay three percent to five percent of the entire cost of the project in exchange for an assurance that the workers would not be harassed and the equipment would not be burned.
“To condemn this attack is not enough to express the anger of the men and women of the PNP, especially that the circumstances of their deployment is to secure a project that would benefit the people of Quezon and the Bicol region from the extortion activity of the local Communist Terrorist Group,” said Eleazar in a statement.
“Therefore, in consultation with our chief PNP, Police Gen. Debold M. Sinas and in coordination with the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, I am ordering the Regional Directors of PRO 4-A, Police Brig. Gen. Felipe R. Natividad and PRO 5, Police Brig. Gen. Bartolome R. Bustamante, to mobilize their forces in order to hit back not only on those responsible but also on the NPA operating in their respective Areas of Responsibility (AOR),” he added.
Based on the police report, the seven policemen are from the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company sent to the road construction site in Barangay Dumagmang after the construction firm informed the local police of the NPA’s alleged demand letter.
The project is aimed at connecting another portion of Quezon to Camarines Norte to ease the transportation of goods for local farmers and the mobility of the local residents.
While the policemen were scouring the areas where the attacking NPA would come from at 9:45 p.m. Friday, they were ambushed in Purok 6, Barangay Dumagmang. Five policemen were killed and two were wounded in the ambush and in the ensuing gun battle.
“The CPP-NPA-NDF has been given all the opportunity to sit down in order to give peace and development a chance for the Filipino people. Yet over the years, they repeatedly turned down peace negotiations and instead resort to cowardly attacks even in the time of the pandemic,” said Eleazar.
“Clearly, these people do not understand the language of peace so will deal with them in manner that they fully understand our message that we shall never tolerate this kind of terrorism activity,” he added.