NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Rumors of an impending attack by the communist New People's Army in Isabela town prompted parents to pull out their children from at least 4 public schools on on Monday, July 13.
The police and the army are on full alert while validating the reports.
Isabela Mayor Enrique Montilla III said "imaginations have run wild," but ordered the authorities to step up security measures in the area.
These reports came a day after 5th District Board Member Renato Malabor was buried in his hometown. Malabor and his bodyguard, Leody Jomilla, were gunned down in Isabela town on June 28. The board member's family are crying for justice as they called on the witnesses to come out and help with the investigation.
Senior Inspector Ramil Sarona, town police chief, said most of the classes in 3 public elementary schools and one public high school were cancelled.
Colonel Franciso Delfin, commanding officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, said, "We're trying to control the situation so the people will not panic. We have deployed additional troops to assure the residents there."
He added that the army have contained the area.
Pressed if he could be the target of the alleged NPA attack, Mayor Montilla said: "There's a million in one possibility. I've said my piece – less talk, the better. I've been in this exercise so many times."
Earlier, Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. offered a P2 million bounty to anyone who can give information that can lead to the arrest of the unidentified suspect.
Marañon believes that the killing of Malabor was "politically motivated" since he had expressed plans of running as Isabela mayor in 2016. – Rappler.com