By By Fernan A. Gianan
Army, PNP brass visit wounded lawman, SDUs
posted 22-Aug-2017  ·  
2,069 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

The commander of the 901st Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division (PA), Col. Alden Juan Masagca, visited the province last Friday to confer with his troops – the remaining company here of the 83rd Infantry Battalion based in Lictin, San Andres – regarding the Aug. 10 ambush conducted by the New People’s Army against the local police.

In a press release, Col. Masagca condemned the communist movement’s use of the improvised explosive device in the incident as a “horrific and inhuman” action in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed by the CPP-NDF-NPA and the government.

The brigade stated that the attack targeted “defenseless” policemen and surrendered drug users out to change their lives from drug addiction, adding that the SDUs are not legitimate targets and should be protected instead of being fired at and targeted with IEDs.

In expressing his unit’s profound condolences to the slain police personnel and the wounded civilians, Col. Masagca hopes this would be the right time for Catandunganons to unite against the NPA.

The 901st Brigade commander’s visit was followed last Sunday morning by that of PNP Bicol regional director Chief Superintendent Antonio Guardiola, who conducted a command conference with Catanduanes PNP provincial director Senior Superintendent Felix Servita Jr. and his chiefs of police at Camp Francisco Camacho.

The RD later visited SPO1 Marwin de Vera as well as the wounded surrendered drug users still being treated at local hospitals. De Vera appears to be out of danger despite being hit in the abdomen by a sniper’s bullet while one of the three SDUs is still being observed after he was struck in the eye by shrapnel.

Both Col. Masagca and PD Servita refused to comment on the possible effect of the ambush on the declaration of Catanduanes as a province moving towards peace and development following the significant reduction in the number of communist guerillas operating in the island.

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The Aug. 10 ambush will set back efforts of the provincial government to treat and/or rehabilitate all of the drug users who have surrendered to the authorities under Oplan Tokhang and its succeeding variants.

Based on the records of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Administration (PDEA), Catanduanes has 2,056 surrenderees out of the total 39,851 in the entire Bicol region. Of the 2,056, only 72 percent or 1,473 were referred by the local police to the Rural Health Units so they could undergo initial screening under the Community-Based Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (CBTRP).

With the renewed insurgent activity, the local police would find it difficult and dangerous to go after the un-referred 583 SDUs, especially those in far-flung barangays where communist guerillas usually operate.

The CBTRP Technical Working Group precisely involved the Regional Trial Court and the police in the referral and treatment process so the participation of the SDUs in the treatment process would be ensured.

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For lack of space, several articles were not published in this issue. We apologize to the readers and the concerned agencies but we assure you the displaced articles will be on the pages of the Aug. 23 issue.

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THE REPAIR SHOP. When his computer printer began to print out faintly, a man called the repair shop.

The clerk said, “From your description of the problem, the printer probably only needs cleaning. It will cost you $50 to have it cleaned here so really you’d be better off reading the manual and doing the job yourself.”

Pleasantly surprised by the clerk’s honesty, the man said: “Does your boss know that you discourage business?”

“Actually,” replied the clerk sheepishly, “it’s my boss’ idea. We usually make more money on repairs if we let people try to fix things themselves first.”

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