MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) attributed to communist rebels New Peoples’ Army (NPA) an attack on a police patrol vehicle Monday morning, December 23, in Tubungan, Iloilo.
PNP acting chief Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa said in a press conference in Camp Crame on Monday that “there’s a very big possibility” the NPA was behind an improvised explosive device (IED) ambush in Iloilo that injured two policemen.
The attack happened a day after the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared a long holiday ceasefire beginning December 23 and will last until January 7, 2020.
“For the past few days we had massive operations and we were pursuing the communist local terrorists, the NPAs, and probably there’s a very big possibility that they are behind this,” Gamboa said in a mix of English and Filipino.
“This is the probably the first atrocity that has happened despite the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire,” added Gamboa. (READ: Duterte gives peace another chance, names Medialdea in panel with communists)
Gamboa said the “IED ambush” happened at 9:20 am of Monday in Barangay Singon in Tubungan, Iloilo. It targeted the 1st Iloilo Mobile Force Company on board their patrol vehicle.
“Troops were able to get out from the killing zone, patrolman Galve and Police Staff Seargeant Lindo were slightly wounded on the face,” said Gamboa.
Gamboa said because of the ceasefire the PNP cannot go on a tactical offensive against the communist rebels.
“Defensive mode, but we will still be actively monitoring them,” said Gamboa.
Asked by a reporter if the twin blasts in Cotabato City Sunday night, December 22, was a case of a sabotage of the ceasefire, Gamboa said there are no conclusive facts yet.
“We cannot also conclude that it has something to do with the CPP-NPA-NDF forces…. There are no conclusive facts that would determine that it is so,” said Gamboa. – Rappler.com