No guidance yet on Duterte's 'sparrow units'

AN ARMY official in Negros Occidental said they have yet to receive a guidance from their higher command following the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he will form a “sparrow unit” that will assassinate members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the communists.

Colonel Benedict Arevalo, commanding officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia town, said in a text message on Wednesday, November 28, that he heard about the President’s pronouncement but there are no formal orders yet.

“Let me assure the people of Negros Occidental that there’s nothing to worry about because we will still continue our fight against the NPAs to end their violence and extortion activities guided by the rules of engagement,” Arevalo said. “We will follow the rules.”

Arevalo added: “If there is one group which should be worried, it should be the NPA terrorists, not the peace-loving and law-abiding citizens of Negros.”

Meanwhile, the September 21 movement, in a press statement, said the pronouncement of Duterte is not only condemnable but warrants in-depth scrutiny.

He just affirmed that indeed, death squads exist and act upon orders within the Army or the police as institutions and the cases of extrajudicial killings were perpetrated by these death squads, the group said.

They also said that it is unfortunate that such statement was made by the highest official and his statement can be considered as an imprimatur to more extrajudicial cases and emboldens the army and police to create fears and wants blindfolded submission to his whims and caprices.

“We call on freedom-loving Negrenses to courageously resist state-sponsored killings and stop his dangerous plans,” they said.

Duterte, in his speech delivered in Carmen, Bohol, expressed his intent to form his own “sparrow,” also known as the Special Partisan Unit (Sparu), is the NPA's urban hit squad, that will “assassinate” the NPA, armed wing of the communists.

Admitting that the Philippine troops could be easily defeated by the NPA's Sparrow unit, the commander-in-chief said he would create a body that would be called “Duterte Death Squad Against the Sparrow” to match the communist insurgents' fighting skills.

“I'm trying to make peace with them, ayaw nila. Tapos pinagpapatay 'yung mga pulis pati sundalo ko. So ngayon, ang kulang talaga, 'yung mga Sparrow ko din. Diyan lang sila nakakalamang. So mag-create ako Sparrow - Duterte Death Squad against the Sparrow,” he said. (GYM)


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