Stakeholders discuss peace, security crisis in Abra town

BANGUED, Abra -- The Philippine National Police, Philippine Army and Provincial Government officials met with the elders and community members of Malibcong town to plan out interventions to sustain peace and security of the place.

This developed after the police station of the municipality was assaulted by New People's Army rebels at around 7:30 p.m. on March 12. They tied three police officers and took all their guns, 7 M16 rifles and 3 pistols, 4 cellphones and a laptop.

The following day, the rebels ambushed a police convoy led by Abra Police Provincial director Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum while on its way to reinforced the Malibcong police.

Five police officers were wounded in said incident.

Barangay Chairman Claro Bugawit of Poblacion informed in the dialogue he immediately gathered his barangay tanod and community leaders to respond to the police station upon hearing gunshots.

Bugawit said three rebels stopped them as they approached but he talked them out and convinced them not to hurt, abduct or kill the police.

The negotiation, according to Bugawit lasted for 20 minutes and the rebels returned the wallets but took away the guns and gadgets.

Vice Mayor Joseph Duggay, who came all the way from another far barangay to Poblacion, reported he received a phone call after the incident from someone who claimed to be NPA that they will receive a message from them soon.

Colonel Leopoldo Imbang Jr., Brigade Commander of 503rd Infantry Division, commended the LGU and community members for their bravery and valor in responding to the crisis and being able to convince the rebels not to abduct and harm the police.

“Wala pa akong nakita in my years of service na community at LGU ang nag-respond at dininig ng mga rebels. Maraming salamat at hindi napasama ang ating kapulisan,” Imbang said.

Police Regional Office – Cordillera regional director Chief Supt Elmo Francis Sarona said as requested by the community, they will provide more Tingguian police officers who can understand their culture better. (Ginalyn Brioso/PIA–CAR)

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