Bicol airport attack proves NPA just extortionist bandits: DILG

MANILA The attack at the Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay only shows that the New People's Army (NPA) is nothing but a bunch of extortionist bandits, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Tuesday.

Attacks like this only prove that they are ordinary bandits. Kung talagang pag-unlad ng bansa ang hangarin nila, hindi nila sisirain ang mga proyekto na makatutulong nang malaki sa ating mga kababayan (If they are really supporting the country's progress, they will not destroy projects that will greatly benefit our fellow Filipinos), Interior Secretary Eduardo AAo said in a statement.

The Bicol International Airport is one of the priority projects under the Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration and is expected to be completed in 2021.

AAo said the attack was probably motivated by the NPA's demands for revolutionary tax which they use to fund their terroristic activities.

Wala ng idolohiyang ipinaglalaban ang mga kaliwa. Puro perwisyo na lang sila sa ating mga kababayan. Sa pamamagitan ng mga pag-atake na ito, patuloy silang nakakapangikil ng pera sa kanilang mga biktima. (The leftists do not have any ideology to fight for. They are a just a menace to our fellow Filipinos. Through this attack, they continue to extort money from their victims) We will put a stop to it, he stressed.

The DILG Secretary said local government units (LGUs) must be vigilant in protecting infrastructure projects within their localities that may fall prey to NPA attacks.

The NPA will continue with their shenanigans, hence, LGUs must always be on their toes to protect their jurisdictions from their attacks, AAo said.

He encouraged LGUs to coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to strengthen and tighten security around government projects as they are proven to be preferred targets of the NPA.

Reports from the Police Regional Office (PRO) 5 said an improvised explosive device (IED) was installed at the front portion of the dump truck owned by contractor E.M. Cuerpo Inc. causing it to explode at the airport's site at Sitio Palanog in Barangay Gapo around 9:35 a.m. last Friday.

A group of soldiers in a nearby detachment of the Philippine Army responded and exchanged fire with the rebels.

"We are currently conducting intelligence operations to identify the people involved. Security review is already being undertaken by 903 Brigade Commander and the PD (Provincial Director), Albay PPO (Police Provincial Office). We will get to the bottom of this," said AAo.

This is not the first time the NPA attacked a priority government project.

Just two months ago, soldiers deployed in the Samar Pacific Road Project were attacked by the NPA resulting in three casualties, one from the 63rd Infantry Battalion and two from the rebel group.

In 2017, at least 10 pieces of heavy equipment of E.M. Cuerpo Inc. were also burned by communist rebels.

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, had been declared a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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