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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

More rebels ready to leave NPA, says AFP

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said more New People’s Army (NPA) rebels are expected to abandon the dying insurgency movement following their crushing defeat in Bukidnon province on Christmas Day when nine of them were killed by government troops.

“The NPA is on the run. They are only capable of harassing defenseless individuals. Most of them already want to leave the dying movement and we are [very] much willing to accept and assist them,” AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said.

Unceasing military pressure and lack of support from the masses have greatly contributed to the weakened condition of the NPA and its allies, according to the military.

Difficult conditions on the ground were also among the reasons that rebels cite when they surrender.

In late November, the 1st Special Forces Battalion in Mampayag, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon facilitated the surrender of five NPA rebels.

AFP public affairs office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a separate message that almost 700 surrenderers have been recorded from January to November.

He said the AFP’s internal security operation campaign, which involves coordination with the Philippine National Police, also led to the neutralization of high-ranking rebel leaders and weakened guerilla fronts, now at 13 as of last count.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 17, a total of 124 rebels were killed during encounters with military forces while 87 were arrested.

“There are no more active guerilla fronts. The whole-of-nation approach through localized peace engagement and other government programs and initiatives helped in ending the insurgency and armed conflict,” Trinidad added.

He assured all military units are ready for any attempts by the NPA to retaliate following their Christmas Day defeat.

“Brigade, battalion, and combat unit commanders nationwide were already reminded to be vigilant and to maintain military pressure and tempo of operations this holiday season,” he said.

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