THE New People’s Army (NPA) attack in Cagayan is a signal for the region not to be complacent, the Cordillera police top cop said.
“Dapat alerto tayo, both for administrative and tactical movements,” warned Cordillera Police Chief Benjamin Magalong.
Magalong made the statement following the ambush-slay of eight Special Action Force (SAF) personnel by communist NPA in Cagayan Valley Monday morning. Seven other SAFs were also wounded.
“I know the SAF men who died, they are comrades,” the region’s top cop lamented.
Killed were Police Officer 3 (PO3) Vladimir R. Tabarejo, PO2 Dexter Cubilla, PO1 Erick Brioso, PO2 Angelbert Mateo, PO2 Elmark Rodney Pinated, PO1 Jerome Sanchez, PO2 Jonnel Bowat, and PO2 Ronald Castulo.
The troops were wearing their athletic uniforms and were on the way to Allacapan town proper for a medical and physical examination when a landmine exploded at the boundary of barangays Cataratan and Centro West in Allacapan town.
Magalong said the attack took advantage of the vulnerability of the government troops.
Wounded were: PO2 Ronald Gomez, PO1 Ephraim Dolete, PO2 Geopano Adangui, PO1 Ryan Asunio, PO2 Ricky Monay, PO2 Jeofrey Liagao Amiligan, and PO2 Jeofrey Velasco.
Magalong said the attack is a message that the NPA is now in the thick of launching a tactical offensive against the government. “There is no assurance now that they will not touch our troops,” he said.
For the region, Magalong said, “We must always be two steps ahead of them here, dapat di na maulit ang nagyari sa Ifugao at Kalinga.”
NPA attacks in the two areas in the region have been sporadic and likewise fatal to soldiers here.
Magalong also said intelligence work for the region must come to play to be able to protect the provinces from the infiltration of the rebels.