SECURITY forces in Mindanao have been alerted on a plot by the New People’s Army to attack Davao City, home to President Rodrigo Duterte, before he makes his 2nd State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on Monday next week, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said yesterday.
Both the PNP and the Armed Forces in Mindanao have been on full alert since the ISIS-inspired Maute Group laid siege to Marawi City last May 23, prompting President Duterte to declare martial law in the entire Mindanao region.
“Meron kaming namonitor dun sa kabila, sa kaliwa, sa NPA, that they will make some pre-SONA attacks, harassment sa Davao, na-uncover ‘yan. Guguluhin nila ‘yung Davao before SONA and we are preparing for that,” the PNP chief said.
However, Dela Rosa said that they have not monitored any other threat from different lawless elements in the South so far but are seeing to it that all forces will be on maximum alert to thwart attempts by any group to disrupt the peace and order in the region.
“Hindi natin madi-discount ang ganung possibility, pero sa ngayon, walang specific kaming natanggap, namonitor na terror attack,” the top cop said.
Dela Rosa also appealed to the citizenry to maintain their vigilance and immediately report the presence of suspicious movements from large groups, persons or even unattended bags and packages in their areas.
“Ang kailangan namin ay mag-cooperate ‘yung public kasi we are facing some degree of threats, so, mag-adjust sana ang publiko na magtulungan tayo para mabantayan natin ang katahimikan ng ating paligid,” he said.
The PNP chief also said that the Duterte government is seeking all ways and means to finally achieve a lasting peace agreement with the communist rebels. “Our quest for peace is never ending. Kung ma-achieve natin ang peace talks, mas maganda. Pero kung hindi sila sinsero, wala tayong magagawa. Giyera, ganon talaga. Hard realities in life,” he said while adding that the result of the peace talks still depends on the rebel groups.
The PNP chief said the police will always do its duty to protect the people. “Ewan ko kung susunod ba sila sa kanilang hari-hari doon sa abroad kung anong sasabihin, kung kontrolado pa nila, susunod. Hindi naman tayo pupuwedeng hindi tayo lalaban kung merong peace talk. Pag tayo ay inatake, we have to fight,” he said.
Last Friday, a powerful improvised explosive device believed to have been planted by suspected NPA guerrillas on a tree in a village in Maddela, Quirino province went off injuring three policemen and a civilian, the latest reported NPA atrocity in the country.
Police Regional Office 2 director Chief Supt. Robert Quenery condemned the latest hostile act of the NPA.
An investigation showed that 10 members of the Quirino Provincial Public Safety Company have just conducted their police-community relations’ activities in Bgy. Village Aguillana and were on their way to the patrol base in Dipantan, Nagtipunan town when they were met by the explosion in Bgy. Diduyon on Friday afternoon.
Quenery said that three policemen and 60-year-old farmer Jolly Juan were injured by shrapnel when the IED tied on a tree exploded as the Toyota Hi-Lux jeep carrying the victims were passing by the area.