Police units nationwide have been ordered to beef up law enforcement, security and safety activities amid possible attacks by communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and other threat groups during the holiday season.
The order was contained in a memorandum issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on December 26.
“All PNP units are again reminded and directed to sustain and beef up law enforcement, security and safety activities. Expect possible ambushes and attacks to be launched by the NPA/threat groups,” it said.
The PNP personnel are instructed to launch preventive and prophylactic combat patrols in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in addition to target hardening of all camps and vital installations.
"Offense is always better than defense,” the memorandum stated.
It said the PNP personnel should ensure safety of all transport terminals especially airports, seaports, and bus terminals to prevent any terrorist/ threat group atrocities. The police should also establish liaison desks in the terminals with increased police visibility and educate the public on signs of terrorism by distribution of materials and reporting of any unattended baggage.
It said a border control check/choke points should be established and see to it that the riding public is safe and secured from any threat. Road and bus marshals and assistance desks should also be installed.
“Emphasize alertness especially during administrative transport of personnel and others,” the memorandum said.
It said deployment of troops should be evaluated and PNP personnel should coordinate with the AFP for reinforcements and actions to be taken in case of attacks, harassments, and ambush.
Police units are ordered to have contingency plans to ensure that potential response systems are put in place in order to prevent, or better respond to, an emergency or critical situation such as active shooting, road side bombing, terrorism, bomb threat and even motorcycle riding suspects.
The memorandum stated that simulation exercises should be conducted immediately to ensure that all PNP members will know what to do in case of any violent enemy activities and to know their strength and weaknesses.
“All reports of activities shall be consolidated for the preparation of regional and area SIMEX in your area of responsibility in coordination with all stakeholders taking into consideration all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ensure further that all available resources are within reach in any eventuality,” it said.
It further said that PNP personnel should identify priority areas and go on tactical and legal offensive stance by conducting all-out operations in coordination and cooperation with the AFP with the use of modern technology like the drone and e-SMS.
“For this matter, you are directed to closely coordinate with all AFP units in your area of responsibility immediately,” it said.
A crisis management team and critical incident management teams should also be developed.
The memorandum was issued a day after NPA members allegedly attacked two military patrol bases in Compostela Valley.
A report from Capt. Jerry Lamosao of 10th Infantry Division said on December 25, 2017, 9:30 a.m., CAFGU active auxilliary Arbilito Catampao, assigned at Tuboan Patrol Base, 5th DOR, CAAC, BCoy, 72IB, 10ID was chased and attempted to be captured by around 30 fully armed communist members under alias Jekol and alias Ramie at Sitio Madian. Catampao managed to run away and escaped.
On December 25, 2017, 7:30 p.m., Melale Patrol Base of 1st Platoon, 4th CVP CAAC under 72nd Infantry Batallion located at Brgy Melale, Laak, Compostela Valley was allegedly harassed by undetermined numbers of NPAs.
The communist rebels allegedly positioned themselves more or less 250 meters northwest from the said patrol base. Upon sensing that the detachment was being harassed, the troops immediately established defensive position and returned fire.
The firefight lasted for about two minutes and the enemy withdrew towards northwest direction.
None from the government side were hurt in the attacks.
The attack did not prosper since 10ID is on full alert and vigilant for possible CPP-NPA attacks on our people and vulnerable communities.
Major General Noel Clement, 10th ID commander, said the attack “was absolutely a clear violation of ceasefire made by the terrorist NPA to disrupt our efforts in making sure Christmas will be celebrated peacefully.”
“10ID will abide by the government's SOMO and will maintain active defense posture in our AOR to thwart any atrocity, deception and sabotage that the CPP-NPA is planning to stage,” he added.
The government's declared holiday ceasefire from 6 p.m. of December 23 to 11:59 p.m. of December 26 to 6 p.m. of December 30 to 11:59 p.m. of Jan. 2, 2018.
The CPP has also declared a holiday ceasefire, from 6 p.m. of December 23 to 6 p.m. of December 26 and from 6 p.m. December 30 to 6 p.m. of Jan. 2, 2018. —KBK, GMA News