Army: NPA guns dug up in CamSur for poll extort

By Cet Dematera


The high-powered firearms dug up in Camarines Sur last week would be used for the launching of tactical offensives by the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels these forthcoming elections, an Army officials said recently.


Lt. Col. Cleto Lelina, Army’s 9th Infantry Battalion commander based in Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte, said that there could be more firearms hidden by the rebels in preparation for their modus operandi on issuing “permit-to-win” and “permit-to-campaign” during the campaign period.


Lelina said that the rebels were obviously having difficulties in their operations due to the anti-insurgency offensives being carried out by government forces that’s why they are forced to just bury them.


“Besides, the rebels are having hard time to implement their anti-government tactics because the people are now tipping off their presence and activities in the barangays,” Lelina said.


At least nine high-powered firearms placed inside a drum were excavated in the forested portion of Sitio Eme of Barangay Bagong Silang in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur last week.


The dug up firearms were five M16 and two M14 rifles, an M79 grenade launcher, and an M72 light anti-tank weapon.


BGen. Jaime Abawag, Army’s 902nd Infantry Brigade commander, said the firearms are also being used in the coercive collection of revolutionary tax or ‘butaw’ to farmers and contractors of government projects in their area of operations.


He also theorized that the rebels already started to gather these high-powered firearms that they could be using not only to forcibly collect revolutionary tax, but even in issuing their so-called “permit-to-campaign” and “permit-to-win” these forthcoming elections.


Abawag lambasted the rebels for continuously collecting revolutionary tax even with the prevailing pandemic.


“These forced collections of revolutionary taxes are even stalling the implementation and completion of pro-people infrastructure projects in the remote villages,” Abawag said in an official statement.


He also commended the concerned citizens who had tipped off the authorities of the location of the buried firearms.


Three days ago, the join Army and police forces also excavated some 695 live bullets for calibre 5.56mm in Purok Dilis, Barangay San Rafael in Bulan, Sorsogon.


A concerned citizen told the authorities of the presence of suspected rebels burying something in the place where the bullets were later on dug up, the Army reported.

ARMS CACHE Nine high-powered firearms placed inside a drum were excavated in the forested portion of Sitio Eme of Barangay Bagong Silang in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur last week. The dug-up firearms were five M16 and two M14 rifles; an M79 grenade launcher; and an M72 light anti-tank weapon. (Photo courtesy of 9th Infantry Battalion)