CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES- The military and the police is now preparing to launch a full offensive against the leftist New Peoples Army (NPA) that is operating in Negros island. “We will definitely go all out against them. They must be pulverized,” a senior police official told iNews.Ph.

The officer’s comment was sought after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte wants the head of the leader of the killers of the four policemen in Ayungon raising to P3 million the bounty that he offered. The President said the reward could even go higher as he aired his anger on the manner that the policemen were killed as the four bore traumatic injuries before they were killed.

“It’s now P3 million and it will increase ‘pag marami na masyado ‘yan, mag-abot yan ng P15, P20 million sabihin ko sa kanila, ‘maski sinong leader diyan patayin ninyo, dalhin niyo ang ulo dito. Do not bring the body…,” Pres. Duterte said yesterday afternoon in Candon City, Ilocos Sur.

Corporal Relebert Beronio, Patrolman Raffy Callo, Patrolman Roel Cabellon; and Patrolman Marquino de Leon, all members of the 704th Mobile Force Company of the Regional Mobile Force Batallion (RMFB7) were gunned down in Barangay (village) Mabato, Ayungon town last July 18, 2019.

Initial reports said they were ambushed while riding in motorcycles but investigators found out later that they were actually shot in full view of the public in the barangay hall as they were forcibly brought there after they were overpowered by the gunmen who suddenly arrived in the house where the cops had a visit. Meanwhile, Police Regional Director Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas confirmed the killing of three other people in Guihulngan City yesterday dawn.

Past 1 a.m. school principal Arthur Bayawa, 55, and his sister, Ardale 49, of Barangay Hibaiyo were gunned down inside their house while they were sleeping which was followed by the killing of Buenavista Brgy. Captain Romeo Alipan more than an hour after.

Sinas received sketchy reports that it was the handiwork of the New Peoples Army (NPA) rebels but stressed that they are still investigating to determine the perpetrators. Arthur who is the principal of the Guihulngan City Science High School and his sister Ardale who works for DepEd in Guihulngan are known critics of the leftist rebels as they held a school symposia where they invited a prominent former NPA leader in the area to expose the evils of the rebel movement.

Like them, Alipan too is very supportive of the government but Sinas said it is too early to blame the rebels of their deaths pending the conclusive basis. “As of now, we are still investigating. I could not say anything more. As of know that was a shooting incident, who are the suspects, the motive, etcetera still under investigation” Sinas said in a mix of English and Cebuano in a press conference inside the PRO7 headquarters in Camp Sergio Osmena, Sr.

The killing of the Bayawas came as suspected members of the Special Partisan Unit (SPARU) of the New Peoples Army (NPA) earlier killed last Wednesday a former rebel and his companion after they went out from a cockpit in Zamboanguita town.

Weny Alegre, 37 and Felimino Jalayan just got out of the Gallera de Zamboanguita in Barangay Poblacion when the armed men waylaid them and shouted, “MABUHAY ANG NPA” afterward. Sinas said they will reassess the situation in Negros Oriental along with his counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). 302nd Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga said the rebels in Negros Oriental belonging to the Leonardo Panaligan Command have also been reinforced by the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command from Negros Occidental as the terrain from both provinces are just interconnected.

Under the leadership of Sinas, PRO7 effectively launched Operation Plan (Oplan) Sauron 1 and 2 but since last March, the police have not conducted any massive operations against the rebel group./AAJ