MANILA – New People’s Army guerrillas on Panay Island raided the police station of Maasin town, Iloilo province Sunday morning, making off with 11 assault rifles, four pistols, ammunition and communications equipment without firing a shot.
Ka Julio Montana, spokesman of the Coronacion Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command, said in a statement that the 20-minute operation was mounted by a unit of the Napoleon Tumagtang Command around 10:30 a.m.
Earlier, the head of the government peace panel negotiating with the Left had praised the declaration by the National Democratic Front that the New People’s Army, its military arm, will halt offensives in Mindanao to allow the government forces to focus on fighting the Maute and other terrorist groups on the island, where President Duterte had declared a 60-day martial law starting May 23.
The NPA raid in Maasin came soon after the Army’s 82nd Infantry Battalion was redeployed from Panay to Lanao del Sur to reinforce government forces battling extremist gunmen in Marawi City.
Montana of the NPA said they targeted the Maasin police station because its personnel allegedly extorted from small vendors in the town while ignoring the proliferation of illegal drugs and gambling.
He added it was also their response to the government’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.