Suspected NPAs raid police station in Iloilo

Suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels raided the municipal police station of Maasin which is a fourth-class town and the capital of Iloilo province on Sunday, June 18.

Chief Inspector Aaron Palomo, public information officer (PIO) of Philippine National Police Iloilo Provincial Office stated that there were around 50 to 70 men that blitzed the police station at around 10:40 am.

Although no policeman or anyone else was hurt, the NPA rebels stole several firearms, including 4 Glock pistols and nine M16 rifles, five handheld radios, a base radio and two laptops.

Communist Party of the Philippines information bureau confirmed in a tweet that the NPA rebels based in Panay did the attack.

"We have recovered the patrol car as well as the truck used by the rebels. Follow-up operations are ongoing," Palomo said.

Before the attack happened, two alleged rebels came to the station to report an incident and during the interview, a truck loaded of armed men arrived at the station and then the two rebels who were being interviewed at the time announced a raid.

"It happened fast. They announced a raid, handcuffed our men, took their firearms and left. No one was injured," Palomo added.

The rebels were also reportedly blocked the major roads heading to the police station.

Shortly after the raid, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog placed the entire city under full alert status for precautionary measure.

"All barangay captains and barangay officials together with their barangay tanods and CVOs (civilian volunteer organizations) shall strictly monitor their respective barangays and report any suspicious movement that may compromise the peace and order situation of the city," Mabilog wrote in his official Facebook page.

"There is no reported threat to the city. This is just a precautionary measure. Let's all stay alert and vigilant," he added.

Vice Mayor Francis Amboy rushed to the city after hearing the news of the attack. He said that the truck carrying the rebels were using a megaphone telling people to move away from the station.

He also added that the policemen were left handcuffed but unharmed.

A follow-up and pursuit have been launched against the NPA rebels.

Meanwhile, the NPA stted that the attack was done to disarm the policemen  for an alleged extortion the policemen were involved.

"Ang istasyon ng Maasin PNP ay dinis-armahan ng NPA dahil matagal nang nangingikil ang mga tauhan nito sa mga maliliit na vendors sa sentro ng bayan, samantalang nagpapabaya lamang sa paglaganap ng ilegal na droga at sugal," the statement read.

The attack happened a day after the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) declared to appose and fight terrorism along with the national government.

NDFP chairman Fidel Agcaoili pointed out that the declaration is "a matter of fundamental principle and constant policy." However, there are still no reportsof the NDFP's status aid to the government forces in Marawi.

Agcaoili also stated that the "level of counteraction against terrorism, as well as the nature, scope and duration must be appropriate and proportional to the degree of danger, threat and/or harm and mayhem being committed by the terrorist groups concerned in Marawi City."

Also, the NPA near Marawi City has been given directive to redeploy for mopping up, holding and blocking operations, if needed.

"The NDFP is ready to discuss and agree in detail with the GRP on how ceasefire, coordination and cooperation can be achieved in Marawi City by both forces unilaterally keeping safe distances between each other," Agcaoili added.

Source: GMA, ABS-CBN, Sunstar