Military task force in Palawan strengthens anti-terrorism campaign

By Aira Genesa Magdayao

In line with the campaign against terrorists, the national government and Palawan Provincial Task Force-Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) offer a P20 million reward for the possible apprehension of five high-ranking New People's Army (NPA) leaders in Palawan.

(Photo Courtesy of 3rd Marine Brigade/MANILA BULLETIN) (Photo Courtesy of 3rd Marine Brigade/MANILA BULLETIN)

Brigadier General Nestor Herico, commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde), told attendees of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Security Operation (CIPSO) forum in northern Palawan earlier this week, that President Rodrigo Duterte also offered earlier P2 million for anyone who can give “valuable tips” to government forces that would lead to the arrest of NPA high-value targets (HVTs) nationwide.

In Palawan, Herico said that PTF-ELCAC is looking for Charity Dino, alias Ka Rise/ Ka Tit/ Ka Edna, department secretary of the Sub-Regional Military Area-4E (SRMA-4E) with a bounty of P2 million; Ka Selmon/ Ka Selnon, commanding officer of the SRMA-4E Bienvenido Valleber Command (BVC) with P6.1 million; Bonifacio Magramo, alias Ka Boywan/ Ka Nato, SRMA-4E secretary with P5.4 million; Andrea Rosal, alias Ka Naya/ Ka Ram/ Ka Inlay/ Ka Joey of the Kilusang Larangang Girilya (KLG)-Palawan with a P4.5 million reward; and Sonny Rogelio, alias Ka Miggy/ Ka Samuel/ Ka Troy, department secretary of KLG-Palawan with a P2 million reward for his arrest.

“He (Duterte) even offered a reward for anybody who could give information about the NPA leadership. Here in Palawan, there is the Sub-Regional Military Unit (SRMU-4E), a unit of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC)—this means, their political leaders,” Herico said.

He told representatives of construction companies in northern Palawan that any detail that will help law enforcers in the apprehension of the rebel leaders should immediately be reported to authorities. He assured that all information regarding the informant will be kept confidential.

"If you need any assistance from our law enforcers, just text it. Our office and the police are open to serve 24/7," Herico said.

Tightening security amid COVID-19

CIPSO is part of the tightening security in Palawan amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic hosted by Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 (MBLT-3) in Roxas town.

MBLT-3 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Charlie Domingo, said offensive attacks by the enemies can be expected by construction companies, especially while the province is under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
In line with the "Build, Build, Build" program, construction businesses can resume and these could be prone to extortion activities or attacks by the rebels.

“The construction industry, and other construction-related companies such as the suppliers, continue to be the targets of extortion activities of the NPA, including those who are disguising themselves as NPA. With the situation, the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), GCQ, and quarantine protocol stopped the resource generation activities of the NPA and the rogue groups,” Domingo added.

He added that they are expecting arson activities from the rebels if construction companies will not give the quarterly revolutionary taxes that they demand.

CIPSO and the construction businesses

In response, construction company representatives and owners assured that they will cooperate with the government to achieve its goal of ending the local armed conflict.

Engr. Rexel Abadiano, who refused to name his construction company for security reasons, said that with CIPSO, they now have a concrete idea on how to handle the situation whenever there will be attempts that will affect their operations.

“It helps us a lot in our company operations. This gives us knowledge about terrorism and how to counter it. We are now aware of the revolutionary tax that terrorists are collecting,” said Lydia Comahig, another attendee of the CIPSO.

Earlier in December 2019, the business sector in Palawan had declared the NPA persona non grata, a move intended to stop their reported extortion activities.

CIPSO is a mechanism created to bridge and strengthen the relationship between government troops and construction-related companies.