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Cagayan Valley under highest alert

The entire Cagayan Valley regional police were placed under the highest security alert status following an ambush carried out by suspected communist rebels that left six policemen dead and 11 others injured in Baggao, Cagayan.

Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the move is both to maximize the follow-up operations against those responsible and to prevent the repeat of the incident to other police teams and units in the region.

“Our operations are continuous. So far, we are also conducting assessment to determine if there were lapses and if there was any, to ensure that it will not be repeated,” said Mayor.

It was recalled that members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion were responding to the report of the rebel atrocities wherein they allegedly harassed a private firm which refused to yield to extortion demand.

On their way, the cops were fired with rifle grenades in Barangay Sta. Margarita in Baggao town, leaving six cops dead and 11 other others wounded especially as an ensuing gun battle occurred.

Mayor identified the fatalities as Police Officers 1 Ryan Annang, Derrel Sunico, Arjay Bautista, Rogelio Alfonso, Julius Soriano and Jaypy Aspiros.

Those seriously wounded were Senior Insp. Arnel Acain, PO3 Jeremy Gacias and PO1s Oliver Cabildo, Elvis Madali, Edmar Malilin, Jobert Ducusin, John Fritz Balunsat, Richmon Diesto, Kelvin Taguibao, Jaemark Camarauan and Mark Lester Layugam. Those who suffered minor wounds were Senior Inspector Clan Cabansi, PO2 Jaypol Melad and PO1s Estanislao Calayan and Mateo Ballad.

Despite being pinned down, Mayor said the cops stood their ground and engaged the attacking rebels until police and military reinforcements arrived.

“The gun battle left at least two dead on the enemy side,” said Mayor.

The PNP leadership condemned the attack, saying the attack only shows that their ideology in helping the poor goes against what they do in the ground as the harassment was launched against the people who help improve the lives of the poor.

It was recalled that the relationship of the police and military were put in jeopardy following the Mamasapano incident wherein the military was accused of not aiding the trapped Special Action Force commandos.

The incident left 44 people SAF commandos dead.