THE Provincial Public Safety Company of PNP based in Tayug remains on full alert status after validating an information on the presence of armed men in Camp 2 and 3 near Sitio Cabalitian in the mountainous areas of Barangay Malico and Sta. Maria East in San Nicolas.
P/ Superintendent Virgilio Pascua, PPSC chief, said the presence of the armed men were validated a few days after an encounter between New People’s Army and government troops in Isabela province where four soldiers died.
Pascua said he has reasons to believe that the area might be a hideout of the NPA’s because PPSC had also monitored recruitment activity and building of force of the rebel in the same area.
Meanwhile, PPSC is standing firm on its assertion that encounter last August 25 was a legitimate operation that resulted in the death of three suspected members of the NPA.
According to P/Sr. Inspector Arnold Soriano, San Nicolas police chief, though there are sightings of armed men in the mountainous areas of San Nicolas, the peace and order in the town proper and other areas remain.
In fact, with the presence of the police, PPSC and 84th Infantry Battalion inside the town’s jurisdiction keeping watch, crime rate has literally dropped to zero in the town proper.
Meanwhile, Malico today is only accessible by motorcycles, six kilometers of rough roads from the construction site of the Pangasinan-Nueva Viscaya road (the old Villa Verde trail that collapsed and closed from the devastation of the killer earthquake in 1990).
Mayor Rebecca Saldivar said the municipal government has not issued any permit for any treasure hunting activity or even a small-scale gold mining in Malico.
There have been interests in treasure hunting in Malico because General Yamashita reportedly hid in Malico during the World War II and kept treasures.
That according to reports, Malico is an attraction to some treasure hunters believing Yamashita buried gold and other treasures.
The local chief executive said, the presence of armed groups in the mountainous areas of San Nicolas is still considered a threat to the town, recalling the 1988 NPA attack.
In 1988, NPA attacked the town proper and ransacked the municipal office and some stores were robbed, according to Saldivar. (Nora Dominguez)