THE Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office is on full alert status to thwart possible attacks by the New People's Army (NPA) after President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled over the weekend peace talks with the communist rebels.
Duterte said on February 5 that there would be no peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) unless there was "compelling reason" to resume it.
He also lifted the unilateral ceasefire against the NPA, the armed wing of the CPP.
Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas, acting Negros Oriental provincial police director, said February 6 that he has alerted all police stations in the province to secure their facilities, as these are more vulnerable to attacks by the rebels than the military camps, which are heavily guarded and less accessible to the public.
Police stations, he said, are open to the public because "we cannot turn away people with complaints and other transactions with us and we have to entertain them," said Biñas in a telephone interview.
"We are now on combat mode," he said, as part of the mandate of the Philippine National Police is to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in internal security operations.
Binas said he has asked the police chiefs to coordinate with barangay officials and tap the barangay intelligence networks (BINs) to monitor the presence of suspicious persons and to report them immediately to the nearest police station.
Biñas said the sightings of armed groups suspected to be NPA rebels are usually reported in central Negros but the police cannot take any chances, as the insurgents tend to be mobile.
Police chiefs have been instructed to review their security plans and take the necessary precautionary measures, he said.
The Negros Oriental police are also coordinating with the military and had a meeting with the Philippine Army and other members of the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council last week, said Biñas. (PNA)