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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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Negros NPA numbers up
but not quality, Army says


Admitting a slight increase in strength of the New People’s Army in Negros, the Philippine Army, clarified that it was more of quantity than quality.

Capt. Ruel Llanes, 303rd Infantry Brigade spokesperson, yesterday said that the NPA managed to recruit new members, following the deployment of two Army battalions outside Negros.

The two Army battalions are composed of about 1,000 personnel.

Because of the re-alignment of forces, central and southern Negros had almost been abandoned, and this was taken advantage of by the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA leadership by engaging in recruitment activities, Llanes said.

But the expansion of the NPA in central Negros was prevented, following an encounter in Mabinay, Negros Oriental, where six rebels were captured and this led to the recovery of four M-16 and M-4 assault high-powered firearms, he said.

Llanes added that the reports on the recruitment of low quality NPA members was bolstered during a recent encounter in Mabinay, where the six captured rebels immediately surrendered.

The NPA recruits are not full-fledged fighters, as they completed basic military training in a period of only one to two weeks, he claimed.

They were after quantity, rather than quality, Llanes said, apparently referring to the CPP-NPA.

Asked if the NPA had been successful in their recruitment of new members, Llanes said he is not inclined to believe it, because the terrorist group managed to do it due to the lack of troopers assigned in central Negros.

Both the Philippine Army and National Police in Negros Occidental have been on a defensive mode since last month, in line with the 49th founding anniversary of the NPA on March 29.

Llanes said the newly-arrived 15th Infantry Battalion will be assigned in southern Negros, while the 62nd and 79th Infantry Battalions are taking charge of central and southern Negros, respectively.

Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said yesterday that police stations are now being augmented by the Philippine Army, in responding to distress calls.

In previous months, the police had been warned about responding to incidents, following the ambush-slay of six policemen in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, as well as that of Cauayan policemen in Negros Occidental, who were responding to reported incidents.

Llanes said the series of killings of civilians in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, and Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, is part of the NPA anniversary celebration.

Because of their failure to hit police stations and military outposts, he said, the NPA is resorting to the killing of civilians.*GPB


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