Rey Anthony Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol July 20, 2012 (PIA) – Keeping off a repeat of an incident when communist terrorists overtook a Bohol camp without a single fire by disguising as friendly forces, Army Special Forces have recommended a ban on unauthorized use of military uniforms by civilians.
The recommendation is based upon intelligence reports that an undetermined number of military uniforms have been smuggled to Bohol, its use not really intended for the government forces, said 802nd Brigade Commander Colonel John Bonafos.
At the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Meeting held at the 2nd SF Battalion Headquarters in Riverside Bilar, July 17, SF Commanding officer Lt. Colonel Romeo Brawner bared the recommendation as among the two which the army internal security operators see as a potential entry point for the abusive terrorists.
The other recommendation is a ban on ambulant vendors selling their wares without the necessary clearances and permits from concerned government authorities.
It may be recalled that more than a hundred rebels seized a police detachment in Rizal, Batuan without a single shot being fired.
The terrorist rebels then came to the camp in vans with Department of the Interior and Local Government markings, and the men dressed as PNP troopers bringing in a captured guerrilla.
Also alighting from the van was a guerrilla in a barong tagalong, accompanied by three smartly dressed women—all looking like government officials.
Another guerrilla was accordingly in a police major’s uniform, and was even saluted by the guards.
Too late did the police members of the Regional Mobile Group realize the men who arrived were enemies dressed as police men.
Dead set on making an impression of their return to Bohol, returning terrorist rebels could also use the same ploy in taking a military camp or simply dressing as a legitimate soldier and sow abuses so that blame is cast on government forces in uniform.
Military personnel should always wear their proper uniforms, including name cloth, patches, insignias and other decorations, Colonel Allan Martin adds, when asked how to identify impostors.
On the other hand, terrorist rebels could pose as ambulant vendors and gain access to areas in Bohol while in espionage mission.
Over the recommendation, Governor Edgar Chatto hinted that unless it does not contrast national laws, an appropriate resolution could emanate from the body.
Lawyer and newly installed Regional Trial Court Judge Raul Barbarona cited Article 88 in the Revised Penal Code which penalizes the unauthorized use of uniforms as a possible basis for the recommendation. (30)