NPA reprisal after Parago’s death? Police and army insist city’s secure

THE DAVAO City Police Office and Task Force Davao are on high alert over fears of New People’s Army reprisal following the death of Leoncio Pitao alias Kumander Parago in Barangay Panalum, Paquibato District over the weekend.

City police director, Sr. Supt. Vicente D. Danao Jr., assured the safety of the city as he said that “everything is under control.”

“We have doubled the security operations on the areas of Paquibato, Baguio and Calinan districts,” he said.

Also, police personnel were instructed against bringing long firearms outside of the precincts to prevent the communist guerillas from stealing them.

“We expect some atrocities that may happen but we can deal with them,” he said.

Danao said that rebels are free to visit their commander at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes provided that they don’t bring along their firearms and other explosive devices.

Col. Macairog S. Alberto, Task Force Davao chief, said they are coordinating with the other law enforcement agencies to secure the city.

Previously, Maj. Gen. Eduardo M. Año, commander of 10th Infantry Division, told reporters that there’s no letup in their offensives to run after the remaining members of the Pulang Bagani Command 1, which Kumander Parago used to head.

“We are prepared for the possible retaliation of the Parago’s group and the troops were deployed already,” he said.

On Sunday afternoon, Pitao and the unit’s medic were killed in an encounter in Barangay Panalum in Paquibato District.

Recovered from the site were three M16 rifles, three backpacks and several rounds of handrifle grenades.

The encounter came barely two weeks after Parago’s group encountered soldiers in the house of Aida Seisa, in Purok 7, Barangay Paradise Embac in Paquibato where, according to the military, three of his comrades were killed in the encounter.

On June 17, two NPAs were also killed during a military pursuit operations in Purok Mangga in Barangay Paradise Embac.

Rigoberto Sanchez, spokersperson of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Command, paid tribute to the fallen NPA commander who served the movement for nearly 37 years.

“The Philippine Army must be very proud and happy to have killed a very sick man and an unarmed medic,” he said in a statement. “They have no regard at all for the rules of engagement under the protocols of war as specified in the Geneva Convention and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. They kill with impunity.”

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