KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Amid rising atrocities committed by communist New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in North Cotabato, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) has asked the Philippine Army for augmentation force in the province’s second district.

In a resolution, the PPOC, chaired by Governor Emmylou Mendoza, asked the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade to deploy additional troops in the towns of Makilala, Arakan, President Roxas, Antipas, Magpet and Matalam where the rebels have been active lately.

The communist rebels, on separate occasions, executed three off duty members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in the towns of Arakan, Magpet and Antipas.

During the PPOC meeting, Supt. Leo Ajero, North Cotabato police intelligence division chief, reported that the rebels launched attacks on soft targets, referring to militiamen and civilians, in North Cotabato’s second district.

Col. Roberto Angcan, Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander, supported the PPOC resolution and vowed to endorse it to Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, overall commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.

Mendoza, during the meeting, said the augmentation force will ensure civilians and non-combatants are safe from harassment by communist rebels belonging to NPA Front 53 operating at the environs of Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak.

Currently, the province’s second district is within the area of operation of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion. (PNA)