SAN NICOLAS — The clash between government troops and the New People’s Army (NPA) elements here last week was a temporary setback for the townsfolk but it’s business as usual here, the mayor said.
Mayor Rebecca Saldivar made the announcement four days after the incident to assure her town mates that everything was under control, and that there was no longer any threat of an attack from the communist rebels.
She added that the site of the encounter was 24 kilometers away from the poblacion and near the tri-boundaries of Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet and the military and police deployed in the area remain on high alert.
Classes and work in government offices resumed Monday in San Nicolas with the people now back to their normal activities as if nothing had happened.
She maintained that the rebels who clashed with elements of RPSB 1 were not based in San Nicolas and were obviously just passing through mountainous areas in the remote eastern area.
Meanwhile, Saldivar appealed to her constituents to help stop spreading fake news and disinformation in the social media that tend to portray that tension is still felt in San Nicolas and in neighboring towns.
There were 125 evacuees from 29 families from Sitio Cabalisian who evacuated from their residences because of a text message that said NPAs were already in their area, prompting Saldivar, Police Chief P/Sr. Inspector Arnold Soriano and Pangasinan Public Safety Command head Supt. Virgilio Pascua to dialogue with the evacuees to explain that there was no truth to the text message.
The mayor also sent out a statement to the media vehemently denying that the San Nicolas Police Station was attacked and that neither was the mayor of San Quintin abducted and that pupils of an elementary school in Natividad were being held hostage by the rebels.
These fake news, she said, are making people, friends and relatives in Pangasinan and elsewhere in the country and overseas nervous and worried about the safety of their loved ones in San Nicolas.
The Pangasinan Police Provincial Office through Chief Inspector Norman Florentino, chief of the police-community relations, said the spread of the fake news was part of the disinformation and black propaganda of NPA to sow panic among the residents in the 6th District.
The lady mayor cautioned her constituents against being unwitting tools of NPA propaganda and instead be more discerning for the good of their town.
Meanwhile, the municipal council here passed a resolution commending the bravery and heroism of Police Officer 2 Aries Tamondong of the Regional Public Safety Battalion Region 1 who died in the armed encounter with NPA elements.
The slain policeman’s widow, Katrina, received P20,000 cash assistance from the municipal government and cash donations from town employees and residents. (Leonardo Micua/ Tita Roces)