Philippine rebels storm police station, seize assault rifles

Malacañang condemned the raid of an Iloilo police station by the New People's Army (NPA), saying it is a step back for peace talks between the government and communists.

"Although the attack was not in Mindanao, the act was opportunistic in nature and disregards the nature of the NDF declaration", said Abella.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has placed the entire city of Iloilo under "Red Alert Status" on Sunday afternoon (June 18) after armed men raided a police station in the town of Maasin, roughly 25 kilometers from Iloilo City.

"Ang istasyon ng Maasin PNP ay dinis-armahan ng NPA dahil matagal nang nangingikil ang mga tauhan nito sa mga maliliit na vendors sa sentro ng bayan, samantalang nagpapabaya lamang sa paglaganap ng ilegal na droga at sugal", Montano said, adding the raid was also in response to what it said was the government's "all-out war" policy against communist rebels.

The attack came a day after 525 soldiers of the Philippine Army's 82nd Infantry Battalion (82 IB), based in Iloilo province, were deployed to Marawi City to augment government forces against the Maute terrorist group. The NDF is the negotiating arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines while the NPA is its armed component.

Dureza said the attacks will affect peace negotiations and "illustrates the tragedy of the insurgency".

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Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. said the rebels' excuse on attacking the police station was already a "cliché" that should not be tolerated.

These alleged rebels completed their operation "very quickly" and sped away in a police patrol vehicle, Palomo said.

Dureza said the communist rebels' offensive operations "must be dealt with and accordingly" by the police and military, with the cooperation of civilian agencies and affected communities.

"Hopefully, the attack is just part of the birth pains of the agreement to stop offensive military actions, even if it covers only Mindanao as of now".

"We ask the NDF to call on their armed comrades on the ground to walk the talk and to show genuine sincerity on the confidence-building measure initiated by the government in their side", he added.

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