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PIA Press Release

8th ID condemns rebel checkpoints

Catbalogan City (July 7) -- The army's 8th Infantry Division (8th ID) condemns the unauthorized checkpoint at Barangay Catalina, Jiabong, Samar on the night of July 4, 2010.

Major General Arthur I Tabaquero, 8ID's Commander, condemned in the strongest possible terms the continuous use of deceptive ploys of the rebels to gain support and harass the masses.

"That is mere terrorism and we condemn such means of seeking support and harassment to the innocent populace", Major General Tabaquero said.

According to a report from 8th ID, the rebels flagged-down a motorcycle and a truck in the said barangay.

The motorcycle driver was reportedly held at gunpoint while his motorcycle was used as part of the road barricade.

When several trucks and private vehicles passed but did not stop to heed the checkpoint, the rebels opened fire, hitting the vehicles and wounding several innocent civilians on board.

Another cargo truck was commandeered by the NPA's and its driver was ordered to position the truck accross the highway to be used as a roadblock. The tires of the truck were shot, the driver was also held at gunpoint for more than an hour.

According to civilians in the area, the commuters that happened to pass by the area knew that the checkpoint was illegal, due to the lack of authorized signages as well as the absence of uniformed troops, hence they did not heed nor stopped to be inspected.

Civilians knew the legal and required SOP for the conduct of military or police checkpoints, as previously disseminated to them by the troops in the area.

After the unsuccessful bid the NPA's reportedly fled the area after discovering that the passing vehicles reported the illegal checkpoint to the authorities.

Intelligence reports gathered revealed that the NPAs are on their toes as the government troops are continuously hounding them, and said to be gaining support from the civilian populace.

This led to the discovery of their encampments and safehouses in the area, which they previously considered as their controlled barangays and mass bases.

Roberto "Ka Huling" Gacuma, former Secretary of the SSF-1 of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee who is now advocating peace in Eastern Visayas said that the incident was a "desperate and hopeless" move of the terrorists because they can no longer get support from the people.

"Ginagawa ng mga NPA ang pag-checkpoint kung may target o may info sila na may papasok o dadaan na malaking pera tulad ng sa mga pulitiko o mga negosyante lalo na kung ito ay may mga escort na may dalang baril" (The NPA's conduct checkpoints if they have a target or information that there will be politicians or businessmen who are in pocession huge amounts of money, and especially when they have armed escorts), Gacuma said in a text message.

Tabaquero also reminded the politicians and businessmen to be more vigilant as they remain targets.

The 8th ID Commander has already directed all units in the field to pursue and run after the said armed groups and let them pay their debts to our people, particularly in disturbing the peace and security of the region. (PIA-Samar with 8th ID) [top]

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