MANILA, Philippines – A full week of military and police offensives against the communist New People’s Army (NPA) left dozens of rebels killed, arrested, or surrendered to the government, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced on Wednesday, May 13.
A total of 17 guerrillas were killed in a series of focused military operations in different parts of the country from May 4 to 11. The offensives drove 19 rebels to surrender to the military or police, while another two were apprehended.
Government troops recovered 37 high-powered firearms, 10 improvised explosive devices, and 1,262 rounds of ammunition from the rebels.
May 4: Eight members of the NPA’s “underground mass organization” surrendered to Army troops in Mawab, Davao de Oro.
May 6: Soldiers captured a wounded rebel fighter in Siaayan, Zamboanga del Norte, while joint police and military operatives apprehended another rebel in Dinagat, Agusan del Norte.
May 7: Three rebels surrendered and turned in their firearms to the Army and the local government in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.
May 8: Joint military and police operatives clashed with an undetermined number of rebels. Government troops recovered the bodies of 5 rebels from the clash site.
May 10: A female “mass organizer” surrendered to military and police troops in Pandi, Bulacan. In Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, Army troops clashed with some 80 rebels and killed 10 of them.
May 11: Two rebels were killed in an encounter with Army troops in Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur.
The AFP said rebels also surrendered in the following places:
- One in Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay
- Two in Rizal, Occidental Mindoro
- One in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro
- One in Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur
- Two in Malapatan, Saranggani
Throughout that week, the AFP recovered 4 M16A1 rifles, 4 M16 rifles, 3 carbine M1 rifles, 4 AK47 rifles, a M653 rifle, two M14 rifles, an improvised M14 rifle, two M79 grenade launchers, two machine guns, 4 grenades, 5 45-caliber pistols, 3 air guns, a shotgun, and a 38-caliber revolver.
“The increase in surrenders and firearms gained from communist-terrorist groups indicate the criminal organization’s dwindling strength,” said AFP chief of staff General Felimon Santos Jr.
Santos credited the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and local governments for strategic gains against the communist insurgents.
President Rodrigo Duterte has consistently kept the NPA in his rhetoric addressing the coronavirus pandemic. He blamed the rebels for alleged ambushes against military troops assisting in government social welfare operations, and threatened to impose martial law if the NPA’s “lawlessness” were to continue.
Recently, the NTF-ELCAC accused the NPA and its parent Communist Party of the Philippines of using the government’s shutdown of media network ABS-CBN and attacks on press freedom to advance their own agenda. – Rappler.com