About 50 members of the NPA attacked a police station in Maasin town, Iloilo
SINCERE? Dela Rosa expresses frustration after the NPA in Panay attacks a police station in Iloilo province. Rappler file photo
LAGUNA, Philippines – The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) expressed doubt over the sincerity of the Communist movement in striking a peace deal with the Philippine government, after members of the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked a police station in Iloilo province.
“Ewan ko kung talagang seryoso sila sa kanilang gustong mangyari. Kung seryoso sana sila, dapat wala silang gagawin na ganon. I don’t know how serious they are. Kaya kami we are not taking their words na ganon ganon nalang,” said Dela Rosa in a chance interview on Monday, June 19.
(I’m not sure what they really want. If they’re serious, they shouldn’t be doing things like this. That’s why we aren’t taking their word for it.)
On Sunday, June 18, about 50 members of the NPA raided the Maasin town police station in Iloilo province. No cops or civilians were wounded, but they took with them several firearms, office equipment, cash, and even a patrol vehicle.
The local NPA command said they did the attack because of abuses by local police and their supposed failure to curb drugs and illegal gambling in the area. The NPA said it was also a response to operation by military and police against their revolutionary movement.
Regional police said the station had been part of the local NPA’s list of targets. Dela Rosa said Communist fighters likely took advantage of the recent deployment of Iloilo-based soldiers to Marawi City, where government troops are trying to flush out local terror groups.
Still, Dela Rosa, who has headed the PNP since July 2016, said it’s "difficult" to give up on peace talks. "Hoping pa rin tayo kahit na palagi nilang ginagawa yan… although nawawalan tayo ng tiwala… pero mga Pilipino pa rin yan. Sana mag tiwala pa rin tayo sa isa’t isa na ma-achieve natin yung kalayaan, ‘yung lasting peace," he said.
(We’re still hoping even if they do that all the time. Although we’re losing trust, they’re still Filipinos. Hopefully we’re trust each other and achieve freedom, lasting peace.)
Peace talks between the government and the Communist movement are ongoing, despite several major hiccups in the past few months. The most recent 5th round of talks were cancelled after Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordered the NPA to intensify operations against the government after President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao.
Both sides have since agreed to put a stop to offensive strikes against each other in Mindanao, according to separate statements released by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Philippine government.
The NDFP also announced actions in support of the Philippine government’s efforts to rid Marawi of the terrorist Maute and Abu Sayyaf Groups. – Rappler.com