SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The Antique Police Provincial Office (APPO) is warning the public against the recruitment of the Communist Part of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists or CNTs in the hinterland of the province.
APPO deputy director for operations, Lt. Col. Norby Escobar said Friday they received a report on CNT recruitment of minors in the municipality of Sibalom.
On April 18, five minors who were captured by the Philippine Army (PA) during their encounter with the CNT in Miag-ao, Iloilo were from Sibalom.
“Parents have to safeguard their children because minors could easily be persuaded by the CNTs,” he said in an interview.
Escobar said that minors purportedly asked permission from their parents a week ago to go to Barangay Bulalakaw, a mountainous part at the border of Antique and Iloilo provinces, to collect honey that they would sell.
However, Escobar said that based on the report of the PA 61st Infantry Battalion led by its commanding officer Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, the minors were captured during their 35-minute encounter with the CNTs.
In press statement on April 18, the PA said soldiers encountered around 40 CNTs believed to be members of the Suyak Platoon in Barangay Cabalaunan, Miag-ao that morning.
The troops launched an operation in response to a report about the CNT training of their new recruits.
Meanwhile, Sibalom Mayor Gian Carlo Occeña, in a statement, said that the municipality condemns the rebels’ act of terrorism that threatens not only the townspeople but also other municipalities.
“For years, we try to preserve the peace and feeling of security enjoyed by our people and we will not allow that this be destroyed,” Occeña said.
“Let us be vigilant, take care of our young and shield them from their (CNT) influence,” he added. (PNA)