Photo Courtesy: Phil JAC

The New Iloilo Airport at Cabatuan, Iloilo

News Blog about the New Iloilo Airport

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Iloilo airport secured vs rebels

Sunstar Iloilo. Tuesday, October 10, 2006
By Ruby P. Silubrico

POLICE strengthened their security forces in Iloilo following Sunday's New People's Army (NPA) attack on a Korean firm constructing the Silay City airport.

Police Regional Office Director Geary Barias on Monday instructed Iloilo Provincial Police Director Joel Napoleon Coronel to send additional personnel to the airport of international standards located in Sta. Barbara and Cabatuan.

Coronel said 22 personnel, including members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team, were deployed and that he will put eight more. The men are heavily armed.

Apart from the 30 personnel from the provincial police office, Coronel alerted two teams near the airport to be ready to augment security forces providing security to the airport.

Some 40 private security guards assigned at the airport compose a support unit to police personnel. They are armed with 12-gauge and caliber .38 revolvers.

"Our airport here is heavily guarded by our (police) personnel and security guards," Coronel said.

The Hanjin Construction Company, a sub-contractor of the International Airport of Silay in Negros Occidental, was attacked by 30 men believed to be members of NPA headed by Ka Jimmy under the Komiteng Reheyon Negros Larangan Guerella 3.

They entered the site at 2 a.m. on October 8 after pretending to be personnel of the Regional Mobile Group (RMG). When inside, they disarmed the security guards.

They seized 18 caliber .38 revolvers and three shotguns from the private security. They bombed some equipment. The damages reached P20 million.

Barias said the motive for the attack was the failure of Korean contractors to give the rebels the revolutionary tax they demanded.

He added that the company had been receiving extortion letters since last year but contractors ignored these. He said the contractors also did not report the matter to the police.

Silay police and the Philippine Army hunted down the perpetrators but were not able to get them.

The police are trying to establish if some of the culprits have access to the airport because some of the armed attackers covered their faces with bonnets.

Coronel said that here in Iloilo, no extortion letter was sent to the airport contractors since January 2006.

"So far, there are no threats from the rebels apart from the civil problem from residents in the area who are asking for their right of way," he said.

On the other hand, Barias said that he would place a detachment in the area to promote police visibility.

He said the regional police had been planning to put a detachment in the area even during the time of then Regional Director Doroteo Reyes II but this did not materialize.

Sunstar Iloilo. Tuesday, October 10, 2006

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