U.S. Bases in Anti-Terrorist Drill; Two Filipinos Slain By Guerrillas
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ American military bases throughout the nation were sealed off today and troops rushed to their units in full battle gear in what U.S. officials called an anti-terrorist drill.
In other developments today, suspected communist rebels killed a Filipino policeman and a soldier in separate ambushes.
The Philippines military also announced it was searching for a constabulary trooper and two policemen kidnapped Tuesday by another band of guerrillas.
The anti-terrorist drill began at 6 a.m. at Clark Air Base, Subic Bay Naval Station and at smaller U.S. communications and recreation centers around the nation, said Thomas Boyd, a spokesman for the U.S. Air Force.
U.S. officials said the exercise was not in response to a specific, new terrorist threat but simply to test security.
On Oct. 28, gunmen believed to be communist rebels killed three Americans and a Filipino of U.S. ancestry outside Clark Air Base, 50 miles north of Manila. Since then, rebels have warned repeatedly they would target American servicemen and others because of U.S. support for President Corazon Aquino.
Lt. Ronnie Bacolod, a Filipino military spokesman at Subic, said U.S. authorities informed their Philippine counterparts the exercise had been undertaken ″to test security readiness against perceived threats.″
There are about 40,000 U.S. troops, Department of Defense civilians and dependents stationed in the Philippines.
The U.S. military’s television station, the Far East Network, flashed frequent reports throughout the day ordering troops to report to their units and advising dependents to stay in their homes.
Capt. Maryellen Jadick, a spokeswoman at Clark Air Base, said Defense Department elementary and high schools were operating normally but as part of the exercise, pupils would be bused home under guard.
As part of today’s alert, gates to all American installations were closed and no vehicles were permitted on the garrisons except those owned by U.S. and Filipino troops stationed there.
Routine flight training at Clark and Subic was canceled, and all Filipino civilian employees were sent home except those in ″essential″ jobs, U.S. officials said.
At Subic Bay, 50 miles west of Manila, chief Petty Officer James O’leary said he did not know how long the alert would remain in effect.
Elsewhere, the two Filipinos killed today by suspected rebels were identified as Philippine Constabulary Sgt. Fernando Espana and Patrolman Antonio David. Both died in attacks by two gunmen near their homes.
The constabulary is a unit of soldiers whose main task has been the fight against communist rebels waging an 18-year-old insurgency.
Espana was killed in Bacolod City, 300 miles southeast of Manila. David was slain in San Fernando in Pampanga province, 35 miles north of the capital.
The military said it was searching today for a constabulary trooper and two policemen kidnapped Tuesday when communist guerrillas attacked a three-vehicle convoy of 10 men in Abra province 200 miles north of Manila.
The military, which did not mention casualties, said the rebels disappeared with three prisoners after a 10-minute firefight. The other seven escaped.
The prisoners were identified as Capt. Abraham Garjillano, commander of the 125th Philippine Constabulary company; Lt. Elmer Peralta, police chief of Licuan township; and police Sgt. Dominador Manuel.