CALBAYOG CITY -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have agreed to step up the drive against communist rebels during the recent joint peace and security coordinating council meeting in this city.
This, after two Army battalions that cover Calbayog City reported that one of their pressing concerns is the continuing threat of the New People’s Army (NPA) in upland villages.
Lieutenant Colonel Seigfred Tubalado, 43rd Infantry Battalion commander, reported that subversive documents recovered after an encounter with NPAs in Carigara, Leyte in October of last year highlighted Calbayog City as major source of funds for the rebels.
Tubalado disclosed a conservative estimate of P1.2 million monthly tax collection of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) from Calbayog City alone.
That includes collection from business groups (P250,000), fisherfolk (P200,000), transport organization (P200,000) and from the government itself in remote villages (P250,000).
“Their collection ballooned this huge because some actually give support to rebels for fear of their lives and their source of living. We need your help to talk to these people that we are ever ready to extend and sustain our security to them until enemies are burnt out,” Tubalado said.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Carmelito Pangatungan, 63rd Infantry Battalion Commander, recommended for an intelligence fusion of the Army, police and the local government, and likewise recommended to consider mechanisms that can prevent the expansion efforts of the insurgents.
Pangatungan mentioned the Joint PNP-AFP checkpoints that can seize NPAs initiatives especially that there’s a trending that NPA presence becomes more prevalent whenever elections are approaching.
Superintendent Glenn Oliver C. Cinco, city chief of police, welcomed the idea, as this will also preempt criminality in the city.
To recall, this joint peace and security coordinating council was formed before the 2013 Elections to discuss and resolve election-related matters, but is pursued at present for more extensive deliberations on peace and security concerns. (PNA)