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PIA Press Release

4ID, JTF Kilat heed PGMA call for heightened alert

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

Cagayan de Oro City (1 September) -- Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the military and the police to be on heightened alert and to prepare for possible retaliations by the National People's Army (NPA).

This, after Jose Maria Sison, founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was arrested by the Dutch Government, recently, on suspicion of his involvement in the killings of his associates in the Philippines.

"Sison's arrest is a giant step towards peace. It is a victory for justice and the rule of law," the President said.

Founder of the NPA, the armed wing of CPP, Sison went to exile in Utrecht, Netherlands in 1987 where he was accosted by the Dutch Police.

He was arrested for allegedly giving orders to murder his former political associates Rumulo Kintanar, former chief of staff of the NPA and Arturo Tabara, former head of the Visayas Commission of the CPP on January 23, 2003 and Sept. 26, 2004, respectively, both assassinations of which were owned up by the CPP and the NPA. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Jose T. Barbieto, Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army said Sison's arrest is a triumph of justice.

"While some groups say it may be ironic, Sison is assured of his day in court, a right which was denied to the thousands of innocent victims of the communist kangaroo courts," Barbieto said.

Also coming after the national commemoration of the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing which he masterminded, this is history and the long arm of the law catching up with him.

Saying all freedom-loving Filipinos should welcome this development, Barbieto gave the assurance that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will always do its mandate to safeguard the people against all forms of terrorist threats including those coming from the NPA.

"We have heeded the call of the President. In fact, 4ID which covers Northern Mindanao except the Lanao provinces and the Caraga region have been on heightened alert since the beheading of the Marine soldiers in Basilan last July," Barbieto said.

Likewise, he said the Joint Task Force (JTF) Kilat which he heads will continue to protect vital installations and facilities, government infrastructures, as well as, centers of commerce to preempt terroristic acts.

Recently organized to control all units of the AFP in the Lanao provinces, JTF Kilat was aimed to ensure that the economic development in these part of Mindanao will continue unhampered despite what has happened in Basilan and Sulu.

It is composed of a brigade each from the First and the Fourth ID, PA, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Tactical Operations Group in region 10 (TOG-10), the Philippine Navy (PN) in the Lanao areas and the Philippine Coast Guard, Northern Mindanao District (PCGNM). (PIA 10) [top]

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