IS the NPA behind armed thugs roaming Guimaras, the island province in Western Visayas, we call home? The NPA, New People’s Army, is one of the most active militant organizations in the Philippines and has waged the world’s longest Communist insurgency.
Extortion Attempts and Armed Thugs
Extortion attempts on our local utility company, Guimelco, and a Guimaras construction magnate, have also been reported. Guimelco and the construction company owner were threatened with extreme property damage if they didn’t pay protection money.
But don’t give the NPA too much credit; speculation runs rampant throughout our tiny island that a syndicate, or gang, is actually behind this latest outbreak of lawlessness in Guimaras.
The NPA in Guimaras
Guimaras was declared an insurgency-free province in 2008, a year before my asawa and I moved to this island known for the sweetest mangoes in the world. (Source: Business Mirror)
Years ago the New People’s Army were quite active in Guimaras. In fact, when my asawa was shot at a local disco dance, the NPA intervened and had a “chat” with the alleged shooter.
Reports of Masked Men Ongoing
Reports have been circulating for the past few months regarding armed thugs in Guimaras who have been knocking on people’s doors at night. Locals and foreigners alike have been targeted.
Break-ins have also been reported. One attempted break-in was thwarted by security bars installed on the windows of the residence where the burglary was attempted.
A masked man was seen one night playing basketball at a barangay which will remain unnamed.
Some of the reports indicate the thugs knocking on doors were wearing masks.
Recent Attack on Panay Island Was Not NPA
While a recent torching of heavy equipment in Banga, Aklan, over in nearby Panay Island, was initially credited to the New People’s Army, that claim proved to be false.
A certain “Ka Vencer” who identified himself as a spokesperson for the NPA’s “Panay Island Coronacion Chiva Waling Waling Command” claimed, via text messages, that they were responsible for the burning.
“We verified … and found out there is no Ka Vencer in Central Panay,” said Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tumnog of the Philippine Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion. (Source: Panay News)
So is the NPA behind armed thugs roaming Guimaras? Or is it a gang from Iloilo or Manila that is looking for new ways to raise cash since President Duterte’s war on drugs has hurt their shabu business?
The Tsismis is Flying
No one really knows for sure at this point but the way the tsismis (gossip) is flying, it reminds me of an old episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
(Graphic Source: Mast General Store.com)
Aunt Bee, Emma Brand and Clara Lindsey are having a gossip session at Walker’s Drug Store when Andy comes by to get some sulfur powder for Barney. “Barn” had cut his finger cleaning his gun.
Emma doesn’t believe that Sheriff Andy is telling the whole story.
Emma, Bee and Clara begin a gossip grapevine that balloons the story up until the whole town thinks Barney shot himself in the chest and ends up dying. (Source: imbd.com)
Could some of these stories of armed masked men and extortion attempts be the product of overactive imaginations or a case of too much Red Horse? Doubtful. The reports I have received come from credible sources. Personally, I don’t know of any “Aunt Bee-types” in the bunch.
(Masked man graphic on home page: Houston Chronicle)