With the intensified operations of the communist terrorists and the constant threat to Bohol, the military top brass here said Bohol holds a secret weapon making the resurgence of the insurgency here quite difficult.
The commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade Col. Ignacio Madriaga said as long as the Boholanos still decide not to return to its former security situation, it will take a long time for the communist terrorists to re-establish prominence in Bohol.
Madriaga commented the Boholano’s vigilance on the movements of armed persons roaming around. The military has been blessed with the human intelligence which gave rise to more reports. The reports are being validated.
At the same time, Madriaga said all the elements that make Bohol insurgency-free remains. For this reason, the colonel said, there is no need for the public to worry about the sightings of armed persons in the province.
The existing mechanism is in place as long as the province is insurgency-free. It has been noted by the military the need to address the issues that may “breed discontent,” said Madriaga.
BOHOL IS ALWAYS THREATENED
Madriaga said Bohol will always be under threat.
“The nature of the insurgency movement is that they would always threaten Bohol especially now that they are gaining success in other places like Negros. So, there is always a possibility that they spill-over to the province,” the military man said.
The thing is that the military is always worried because it is in their nature to be worried to keep them on their toes.
Basing on the pattern of activities of the communist terrorist organizers, they are re-establishing contact with their former comrade and using those who still have sympathy for them as an entry point in a particular area, said Madriaga.
“Some of their former comrades are those that laid low and did not benefit from the government program for former rebels. Thus those people still hold a grudge against the government,” he added.
The 47th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Eufracio “Joel” Malig listed several movements of armed men spotted in the province.
At least eight movements have been spotted by the military in January and the later part of February.
Reports said there were two armed men were spotted in barangay Ambuan Gamay, Catigbian. The report added armed men told an undisclosed person to consolidate all the populace in the area for them to conduct dialogue, saying not to support the Duterte Administration. Before they left the place, they told the populace not to inform the military regarding their existence in the area for they will come back again.
In another report, five fully armed men were sighted in barangay Boctol, Balilihan on February 8. However, the locals sensed the men were from not the area since one of them asked what the name of the place was. The men also did not possess a Boholano accent.
Also in barangay Buctol, three unidentified armed men appeared and were noticed to be lost and unfamiliar with the location. The men proceeded to the direction of Barangay San Roque, Balilihan on February 5.
Five armed men were sighted passing by barangay Ma. Rosario, Inabanga and were seen moving towards barangay Cambantog also on February 5.
About ten fully armed men were spotted on February 4 in Barangay Danao, Antequera. The men were aboard an Elf truck and were allegedly fetched from an undisclosed location.
Back on January 27, three armed men were sighted to be conducting recruitment activities in barangay Calinginan Norte, Sevilla.
On January 22, ten fully armed men were sighted at barangay Kauswagan, Trinidad.
The military got reports on January 20; about four armed men were sighted at barangay Salog, Getafe. They were reportedly conducting mass expansion works in the area.
Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto believes any person who wants to disrupt the peace will have a hard time doing it in Bohol.
He gave a stern warning against the communist rebels who are purportedly trying to gain back their turf and will cause turmoil in an otherwise peaceful Bohol.
“Mo-hanyo lang mi na ayaw mo dinhi sa Bohol. Ang mga taw dinhi mura’g si Dagohoy—buotan pero mo-sukol,” Chatto said.
The governor said when push becomes a shove, the Boholano will fight back.
Chatto stopped short of declaring Bohol remains to be insurgency-free. He said, he rather let the authorities tell whether Bohol is devoid of any insurgents or not.
Then again, the governor is confident the Boholanos will make sure any disruptions to the peace and order will not happen and will retaliate hard against those who will try to disrupt the peace.
The government downplayed the veiled threats made by the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines directing the NPA to launch attacks and ensure to kill at least one soldier a day.
Malacañang shrugged off the threat made by CPP’s chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison to kill a soldier a day.
Sison warned the NPA could launch continued attacks against state security forces, and kill one personnel, in an attempt to force the government back to the negotiating table and re-start the peace talks.
“As NDFP chief political consultant, I advise the NDFP to recommend to the CPP and NPA to respect the Jasig (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees) as a solemn agreement that protects the negotiating personnel of both the NDFP and GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines),” Sison said in statement issued from his base in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Here in Bohol, the Army based here downplayed the threats. Malig said the rhetoric made by the communist rebels are nothing new.
Malig called on to the public to remain vigilant and report to authorities any suspicious personalities in their respective communities or villages.
Madriaga sees the people are no longer keen to support the insurgents. During the provincial congress of the Liga ng mgaBarangay, he urged those who are in attendance to ask the people still outside the bounds of the law to return and bask in the economic brilliance being enjoyed by Bohol. (Dave S. Albarado)