The Western Command (WESCOM) has deployed a special operations platoon of Marines to Barangay Punang, Sofronio Española to pursue members of the New People’s Army (NPA) believed to be responsible for burning the heavy equipment owned by the subcontractor of a mining company in the area.
Vice Adm. Rene Medina, commander of the WESCOM, said Saturday that a Special Operations Platoon (SOP) from the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 under Lt. Col. Darwin de Luna had been sent to Punang with personnel of the Sofronio Española Municipal Police Station (MPS) and 1st Palawan Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) to conduct joint enforcement pursuit activities against NPA armed members who burned two heavy equipment of the Canipaan Environmental Resources, Inc. (CERI).
“Confirmed that they are members of the CTG (communist-terrorist group) after ng mga succeeding information gathering ng ating mga operatives,” he said.
Medina said the burning of the heavy equipment of CERI, a subcontractor of the Citinickel Mines & Development Corporation (Citinickel), was part of the NPA’s scheme that is directed against an ongoing provincial government water systems project in the adjacent barangay of Pulot Interior.
He said they knew that the rebels in southern Palawan would inflict harm in return for the arrest of their top leaders early this month at a checkpoint in Brgy. San Jose.
“Ang target talaga nila ay ‘yong water project doon. Maraming report na sasalakayin din ‘yong police doon kaya nag-target hardening kami. Ang alam namin kapag magsusunog sila, hindi ganoong oras. Baka nag-sche-scheme lang sila na kapag may pumuntang pulis ay i-a-ambush nila,” Medina said.
“Alam namin na gaganti sila dahil talagang napuruhan sila sa arrest noong pito dahil si Ka Helen (Jenny Ann Bautista) is alam namin ay finance officer din nila sa South,” he added.
He said they also learned that the rebel group that burned the grader and the dump truck was with Vincent Libuna, alias “Ka Allan”.
Medina said they are now talking to the owner of the heavy equipment and coordinating with the Sofronio Española municipal government for the filing of the case against the rebels.
“Kinakausap na namin ngayon ‘yong may-ari para mag-file ng case,” he said.
On October 25, an undetermined number of NPA rebels burned the CERI heavy equipment along the mine haul road of Citinickel at Km. 9 in Sitio Malanap, Punang.
In 2014, heavy equipment of CERI were also burned by suspected rebels.