The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army in Western Visayas is now suffering from massive losses in strength, armed capability and mass base support in the first quarter of this year, Maj. Dinoh Dolina, 3rd Infantry Division commander, said yesterday.
In his security briefing with Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Benjamen Madrigal at Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, Dolina reported that 365 regular members and supporters of the New People’s Army surrendered to the Philippine Army in the first quarter of the year.
Of the number, 255 are from Negros Island, including the 25 armed regulars who also surrendered 27 firearms, Dolina said.
NPA-Negros regional spokesman Juanito Magbanua strongly debunked claims that the 25 are regular NPA members.
Dolina attributed the massive surrender of NPA regulars, militias and mass base supporters to the concerted efforts of the 3ID Community Support Program teams, PNP, local government units and agencies, among other multi-sectoral groups.
He also stressed that the withdrawal of support of the militias and mass base supporters of the CPP-NPA is one of the major factors of the surrender of their fighters, who expressed disappointment and realization that they are becoming more of terrorist than of the “people’s army”, as their leaders are claiming.
With these surrenders, Dolina added that they are expecting bigger number of surrenderees in the coming months, as their members and supporters have now finally come to the realization that their leaders are just using them for their selfish and bloody interest.
He also said that the arrest of Frank Fernandez, secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros, and his deputy and wife, Cleofe Lagtapon, by the Philippine National Police and AFP Southern Luzon Command, in Laguna, will also create a drastic demoralization and the will to fight among their members in Negros.
Dolina described the arrest of Fernandez and Lagtapon as a breakthrough in their campaign against violence and terrorism being carried out by the CPP-NPA .
He added that the death of a leader of the NPA in Miag-ao, Iloilo as well as the recovery of nine anti-personnel mines following an encounter also in Igbaras, Iloilo, and the recovery of P300,000 worth of medicines after a result of a gunbattle with communist rebels in Brgy. Mabini, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, were offshoots of their relentless combat operations in Negros and Panay.
In line with the 50th founding anniversary of the NPA on March 29, Dolina said he already ordered his troops to continue hunting down communist rebels, and not to allow them to mark the anniversary of their atrocities.*
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