THE 702nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based at Camp Tito Abat in Manaoag town remains on blue alert with its soldiers inside their camps but may shift to red alert on March 29 when the terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) will observe its founding anniversary.
This was bared by Capt. Jay-Ar Ramos, 702nd IB’s public information officer, in a talk during the KBP Forum in Dagupan City on March 10.
At the same time, Ramos belied the report that NPA elements were seen in some parts of eastern Pangasinan after the rebels torched two ore-filled trucks of Philex Mines in Itogon Benguet on February 9 en route to Poro Point in San Fernando City, La Union.
“We checked the report and it turned out negative,” said Ramos, adding that the people in the area could not also validate the report.
There was also no movement of rebels in the western part of Pangasinan near the Zambales border, Ramos reported.
“We are focused on anti-insurgency, so if we receive information from our men in the field or the barangays, we pass this on to the PNP for validation,” Ramos explained.
He added that while the Philippine Army is open to receive rebels who want to surrender, their anti-insurgency operations will continue until a ceasefire order is received from higher headquarters.
Asked if there are already extortion activities perpetrated by the NPA in Pangasinan, Ramos said they have not received any report from any private company being blackmailed into paying revolutionary taxes to the rebels.
He said the 702nd IB is continuously coordinating with the PNP and conducting joint checkpoints in strategic areas with them as well as providing security to flagship projects, that include the wind farm in Ilocos Norte, the Sual Coal-fired power Plant and the San Roque Multi-purpose dam, both in Pangasinan.
He added the army is ready to provide support when requested by PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency). (Leonardo Micua)