NPA - Mt Province Attacks PNP Public Safety Battalion Training

Magno Udyaw
Leonardo Pacsi Command - NPA-Mt. Province
June 28, 2013

At about 7:15 AM today, a unit of the Leonardo Pacsi Command-NPA Mountain Province successfully ambushed troops of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who were undergoing combat training in Brgy. Kabunagan, Tadian, Mountain Province. The swift attack was conducted while the said troops, numbering more than a hundred including their trainors, were on bivouac towards Abatan, Bauko.

The ambush left one dead and 9 wounded,  while the NPA withdrew without casualties after giving first aid to the wounded and releasing a number of captured PNP combatants. The NPA seized 14 high powered rifles (11 M16s and 3 M14s). The PNP troopers were fully armed.

The ambushed PNP troops belonged to the 2nd Company, Regional Public Safety Battalion, one of the numerous batches of the RPSB undergoing training in succession since last year in Babalaan,Tadian. The PSB is a special unit of the PNP presently trained to focus in counter-insurgency and urban warfare tactics, according to documents seized in previous armed engagements. The said program is an integral part of  the doomed ISP Oplan Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) where the PNP actively participates in combat operations against the revolutionary forces.  In recent pronouncements, Chief Supt. Benjamen Magalong of the PNP PRO-CAR announced that special units of the PNP are in rigid training for counter-insurgency readiness. In fact last April this year, the special PNP unit that was ambushed in Asipulo, Ifugao, were trainees at Babalaan, Tadian, who were mobilized jointly with the 86th Infantry Batallion conducting massive counter-insurgency combat operations in the towns of Tinoc and Asipulo, Ifugao. Last year, the PPSB of Mountain Province acted as blocking force during the raid of the composite force of the 54th IB and the PNP in the temporary camp of a unit of the Leonardo Pacsi Command at the outskirt of Barangay Alab, Bontoc, Mountain Province.   Earlier this year, the training camp in Babalaan, Tadian had been the subject of protest by the residents who were unduly disturbed by the incessant firing of the PNP trainees. The firing range is very near the densely populated area of Poblacion, Tadian and nearby communities were kept in the dark about the said trainings.

The 54th IB of the Philippine Army and the PNP through its PSB with their numerous detachments spread all over the province has virtually turned Mountain Province into a military garrison. In addition, their patrol bases and mobile units serves as security forces of large mining and power generation companies that aggressively invest in ancestral land areas in all of the province’s 10 municipalities. Most notorious of these companies are Hedcor-Aboitiz building a hydropower dam in Sabangan; Asia Pac and Phil Magma with  geothermal and hydro projects in the municipalities of Bontoc, Sadanga, Barlig, Natonin and Paracelis; and Philcarbon with a windmill project in the scenic towns of Sagada and Besao. Most of these companies are foreign owned or has ties with their local lackeys and at present is in the process of securing the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) being facilitated by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). In response to the brewing people’s resistance in MP against these profit-driven and destructive “Renewable Energy”(RE) companies, the reactionary state  as a matter of procedure and commitment to profiteering capitalists has commissioned the Philippine Army and the PNP to secure the targeted areas where these facilities are to be constructed.

The intensified influx of destructive and anti-people projects in the province and the Cordillera region is unprecedented and further exemplify the exploitation of the region as mere resource base area targeted for the said projects by big foreign and local profiteering companies. This is happening while there are halted applications of large scale mining in the whole province stopped on its tracks by people’s protests, and the proliferation of Carbon in Pulp (CIP) Plants in the nearby mining areas of Mankayan, Benguet, and Quirino, Ilocos Sur that affects the people and environment. Their operations encroaches into the communities in the boundary areas of MP.

At present, these companies are on fast track mode in securing the FPIC and employ dubious tactics in tricking and hoodwinking the Igorot communities of Kankanaeys, i-Bontoc, i-Sadanga in the western part of the province and the tribes in the municipalities of Barlig, Natonin and Paracelis in the eastern part into approving the aforesaid projects. In doing so, they have payrolled known Igorot personalities and has-been politicians in aggressively participating in the consultations and schemes to convince their fellow kailians (townmates) to give up their rights.

In glaring collusion, the NCIP has been a willing tool of these companies in the ongoing consultations of hydro, geothermal and wind power applications. The people of Mountain Province and nearby provinces has time and again resisted destructive projects that poses danger to numerous communities and the environment. The New People’s Army is duty bound to march with the people in resisting and defending their rights. It carries out punitive action against  companies and the state security forces that trample on the people’s rights.

As long as the present ruling system continues, the threat to the people’s ancestral domain and the impunity enjoyed by large scale mining and power generation projects in collusion with the present US-Aquino regime continues unabated.  It is only through the strengthening unity of the national minorities of the Cordillera region and the peoples’ army that accumulated strength can be attained in combating these plunderers, and only through the victory of the People’s Democratic Revolution that progress through nationalist industrialization, genuine autonomy and self-determination can be attained.