CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday called on the New People’s Army (NPA) to lay down their arms or suffer the same fate of their cohorts killed in latest military operations.
“While we are hopeful that more NPAs will surrender in the coming days, our troops on the ground will continue with our relentless operations against them who remain active in their violent and destructive criminal activities against our people in the communities,” AFP Public Affairs Chief, Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo said.
On Tuesday, 28 November 2017, combined elements from the Philippine Air Force’s 730th Combat Group and Nasugbu Municipal Police were able to neutralize 14 NPA members in Batangas.
Among the killed rebels were the secretary of NPA Guerilla Unit 3 and one (1) platoon leader. Two (2) other fighters were wounded in the encounter as government troops recovered 12 high-powered firearms.
Five (5) soldiers on the other hand suffered minor injuries but are now in stable condition.
The military’s latest operational success came days after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Presidential Proclamation No. 360. This terminated peace negotiations between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“Prior to the President’s proclamation, we have been actively conducting counterinsurgency operations against the NPA since the peace negotiations broke down in February 4,” Colonel Arevalo said.
In the month of November alone, the AFP was able to neutralize 119 NPAs. Of this, 21 were killed in operations, 29 were apprehended, and 69 voluntarily surrendered. Government troops also gained 62 high-powered and low-powered firearms from the rebels in the past month.
Following Proclamation 360, the AFP expects more violent activities from the NPA, primarily in the nature of economic sabotage.
“These violent activities by the NPA seek to falsely project that they are still a force to reckon. There is an ostensible leadership vacuum caused by the death of ranking NPA members in the past months resulting to the decreasing capability of the rebel group,” Colonel Arevalo said.
As of November 2017, the AFP recorded 47 NPA-initiated atrocities that include harassment and ambush of military troops, and kidnapping of civilians. The AFP on the other hand successfully conducted 73 operations targeted at the communist terrorists.
At present, 264 NPA members were either killed or apprehended by government forces while 573 voluntarily surrendered since the termination of peace talks in February 4. Moreover, 622 firearms were gained from the rebel group.