Aug 9, 2020

Provincial police clarifies recent clash with NPA in Brooke’s Point

Bartolome said three encounters with the NPA had already transpired in the Maasin area of Brooke’s Point recently, one of which was with troops belonging to the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 on November 13.

Police Colonel Dionisio Bartolome, the director of the Provincial Police Office (PPO), clarified Monday that their November 21 “combat operation” against the local communist insurgency in Barangay Maasin, Brooke’s Point was legitimate and was not a bungled encounter with the Marines.

Bartolome explained that the operation carried out by the 1st and 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Companies (PMFC) against the New People’s Army (NPA) as part of their “mandate” was coordinated with the Western Command (WESCOM), but not fully with the Provincial Task Force-Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC)

“Nagkaroon tayo nang combat operation sa south ng Palawan. Ang operation ay conducted ng mobile force natin sa police. Coordinated po ito. Before kami mag-operate, we always cooperate with our counterparts in the military. Kung sino ang nasa ground. Usually, kay sir (Brig. Gen. Charlton Sean) Gaerlan [ng 3rd Marine Brigade] kami nag-co-coordinate and even the battalion commander,” he said.

Bartolome said three encounters with the NPA had already transpired in the Maasin area of Brooke’s Point recently, one of which was with troops belonging to the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 on November 13.

He said the PMFC’s combat operation was a “requirement” from their national headquarters and an “effort” to help the government’s drive to eliminate the local insurgency.

Bartolome said what was missed, however, was coordination with the task force ELCAC.

He said their future operations will already be with the military under the guidance of the Joint Task Force Peacock.

“May requirement din kasi kami sa national headquarters to conduct a major operation. Nag-conduct lang kami kasi may magandang info rin. Ang tama naman ng mga bata natin is minor, bullet grazes lang, ‘yong iba during the struggle to find cover, nagasgasan ‘yong dalawa,” he said.

“Our next operations will always be coordinated with the task force Peacock para mag-joint na lang ‘yong mga Marines at saka police,” Bartolome added.

On claims by the NPA that it was a “misencounter” with the Marines, Bartolome said the insurgent group was just engaging in misinformation to prevent the demoralization of their fighters.

“Yong na-re-receive niyo na sinabi, actually, nagpalabas sila ng misinformation. In every government encounter — between government forces and the NPA — anywhere in the Philippines, nagpapalaba sila ng parang pagpapa-totoo. Ang sinabi nila doon sa encounter sa Maasin ay isang ‘misencounter’. It is normal on their part kasi pag ‘yong kanilang forces kapag nakita nila na may encounter ma-de-demoralize ‘yon,” he said.

On November 22, Bienvenido Vallever Command-Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BVC-BHB) spokesperson Salvador Luminoso said the encounter never happened because it was allegedly a misencounter with the Marines.

“Tila mga asong nauulol ang mga operador ng JTF Peacock sa pangunguna ng 3rd Marine Brigade at Philippine National Police sa pagpupumilit nito na pagtakpan ng PNP at ng AFP ang naganap na sagupaan sa pagitan ng nag-ooperasyong mga pwersa ng magkasanib na 1st at 2nd PMFC sa Sityo Guiob Maasin, Brookes Point. Naganap ang misencounter noong Nobyembre 21 bandang alas 10:30 ng umaga {sic} na nagresulta ng 4 na kaswalti sa panig ng PMFC ayon mismo sa tagapagsalita nitong si PNP Capt. Ric Ramos,” said Luminoso.

“Ngunit ayon mismo sa mga nakakita ay hindi lamang apat ang naging kaswalti sa naturang misencounter, kung pagbabatayan pa lamang ang bilang ng mga ambulansya at nakitang hinahakot na sa tantya ay mga patay na katawan, bukod pa ang mga sugatan,” he added.

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