The Armed Forces of the Philippines has called on members of the New People’s Army to surrender or be killed in military operations nationwide.
AFP Public Affairs Office chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo said they are hopeful that more NPAs will surrender in the coming days.
However, he said, troops on the ground will continue their relentless operations against them to curtail their violent and destructive criminal activities.
Late last month, the Philippine Air Force 730th Combat Group and the police killed 14 NPA members, including the secretary of the NPA Guerilla Unit 3 and a platoon leader, in an encounter in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Two communists were wounded in the encounter and government troops recovered 12 high-powered firearms from the NPA. Five soldiers on the other hand suffered minor injuries but are now in stable condition.
The encounter occurred days after President Duterte signed Presidential Proclamation No. 360 terminating the peace negotiations between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front.
“Prior to the President’s proclamation, we have been actively conducting counterinsurgency operations against the NPA since the peace negotiations broke down in Feb. 4,” Arevalo said.
Also last month, the AFP was able to neutralize 119 NPA. Twenty-one of them were killed in operations, 29 were apprehended, 69 voluntarily surrendered, and 62 high-powered and low-powered were recovered.
The AFP expects more violent activities from the NPA following the issuance of Proclamation No. 360. “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,” Arevalo said.
The AFP recorded 47 NPA-initiated atrocities that include harassment and ambush of military troops and kidnapping of civilians last November. (Francis T. Wakefield)