Public told to avoid Majayjay barangay after NPA attack
LAGUNA , Philippines – The municipality of Majayjay in Laguna is now on red alert after an encounter between the New People's Army (NPA) and the military on Sunday evening, May 14.
The clash happened in Barangay Ibabang Banga around 7 pm. There were no fatalities reported.
Majayjay Mayor Jojo Clado advised the public, however, to avoid the barangay or stay indoors in the meantime.
"Umiwas muna tayo sa lugar na ito at lubhang mapanganib (Avoid the area since it is extremely dangerous)," he said in a Facebook post.
Clado also told Rappler that the clash resulted in heavy traffic as civilians were asked to reroute.
"Nag-traffic rin kanina. Hindi pinapadaan ang civilian kasi baka maka-encounter ng crossfire. Pero sa ngayon, nakakatakbo na ang traffic. Medyo mainit pa nga lang din at nando'n pa sa area ang mga NPA," he said.
(There was heavy traffic earlier. Civilians weren't allowed to pass because they might get caught in the crossfire. But now traffic is already flowing smoothly. Tensions remain high, however, because the NPA rebels are still in the area.)
The encounter at Ibabang Banga comes just hours ahead of the barangay's festival on Monday, May 15.
The barangay is also on the route going to Lucban, Quezon. Lucban is celebrating the popular Pahiyas Festival on Monday as well.
Clado expressed concern that the communist rebels might attack just as residents and tourists are busy celebrating.
"'Yun nga ang kinakatakot ko – baka gamitin ang fiestahan para manakot. Nakakadaan na naman sa ngayon. Nando'n na rin ang army. Pero kung puwede umiwas muna doon sa barangay, mas okay," he said.
(That's what I fear – that they might sow terror during the celebrations. Actually, the area is now passable. The army is already there. But if people can avoid the barangay altogether, the better.)
Clado also told Rappler that the NPA might have attacked due to the refusal of a private firm to pay so-called "revolutionary tax."
He added that before the incident, the local government had already been receiving threats. – Rappler.com