High-ranking NPA members return to gov’t fold in E. Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   January 29, 2019   •   2876

NPA returnees| Photo courtesy of EastMinCom

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – Members of the terrorist group, New People’s Army (NPA) are growing tired of the movement, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In fact, 29 NPA fighters and 14 members of its affiliate group Militiang Bayan returned to the government from different parts of Eastern Mindanao just this month of January, 2019.

Among them were alias ‘Mylene’ who headed the rebels’ medic platoon in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental; alias ‘Jamaica’ who headed the NPA’s medical team in Bukidnon; and alias ‘Jade’, a former supply officer of the group.

With the surrender of some of the group’s high-ranking members, the AFP believes that the terrorist group’s forces are now dwindling.

Based on the assessment of the Philippine Army’s 4ID who has jurisdiction over Caraga region, rebel forces have been reduced by 53% in their area since the beginning of this year.

Meanwhile, according to 402nd IB Commander BGen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, the collaboration of the AFP, the police and the local government unit (LGU) in the region helped a lot to thwart terror plans of the NPA.

“Walang nagawang ambush. Walang nagawang land mining. Walang sinunog sa ating highway. Very unusual iyan sa Caraga. Alam naman natin (na) hotbed ng communist insurgency ang Caraga region sa buong Pilipinas,” BGen. Gacal noted.

The AFP continues to carry on with its community support program especially in the mountainous portions in the region to educate and persuade tribal communities not to join the communist group. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Raymond Octubre)

DILG warns poll bets vs paying ‘permit to campaign’ fees to communist rebels

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday warned all candidates in the 2022 national and local elections against paying the so-called permit to campaign fees to the communist rebels.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año reminded candidates of the Memorandum Circular 2019-26, which calls this modus operandi as a “clear form of extortion and defilement of the sanctity of the right to suffrage.”

“Huwag po tayong magpaloko at matakot. Ang ibabayad n’yong extortion money sa mga komunista ay gagamitin din nila para makapaghasik ng terorismo sa bansa,” he adds.

In the said directive, Año enjoined local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police to ensure that all candidates are allowed unhampered entrance in every LGU and guarantee peace and order in all areas especially those considered as hotspots for insurgency.

“All local officials should steer clear of directly or indirectly giving financial, material and political support to the CPP-NPA since this is a clear violation of law. This is something that the DILG under my leadership will never tolerate,” he said.

LGUs are also directed to ensure that all citizens desiring to exercise their right to suffrage are allowed and encouraged, and their rights are protected when participating in political assemblies and meetings and in the dissemination and receipt of information of any and all election-related matters.

“We must secure all candidates and political parties and ensure that they are given access to the electorate during the campaign period without intimidation and manipulation from communist terrorist groups,” he said.

The DILG said it will file disqualification cases against candidates who will be proven to have supported and cooperated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

“Supporting communist terrorist groups through financing or other means is an election offense and is sufficient to cause the disqualification of a candidate,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in the same statement.

“We will follow through on our words, those politicians who will be proven as accomplices of the CPP-NPA will face disqualification cases from the DILG,” he said.

The DILG also cited Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 10168 known as ‘The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012’, which states that any person who finances terrorist groups to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act, by a terrorist organization, association or group, or by an individual terrorist, shall be guilty of the crime of financing terrorism.

Malaya said that under RA 10168, the crime of financing terrorism is punishable by the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) to not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000).

Such is also punishable under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines which can render the accused “permanent disqualification to hold public office” with imprisonment of one to six years, he added.

 

Military, police uncover NPA arms cache in Masbate

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Government troops have seized a bulk of war materiel in Masbate province as they continue to hunt down New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists.

On Monday (September 20), government authorities received information from residents in Aroroy about the suspicious materials left behind by the communist rebels in their area.

Responding to the tip-off, elements of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) immediately verified the report.

The troops were able to capture the following:
– one M16 rifle;
– two magazines;
– assorted ammunition;
– one plastic bag containing ammonium nitrate which is the primary component in making anti-personnel mines;
– a dynamite;
– one roll of detonating cord.

There were also some personal belongings along with the said arms haul.

Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, Battalion Commander of 2IB, hailed the vigilance of the Masbateños for the discovery of the war materiel. The public cooperation just proves that the NPA can no longer hide even their firearms.

Meanwhile, Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, said the capture of these firearms is a manifestation of the continuously deteriorating capabilities of the terrorist group especially in the province of Masbate.

“Iniiwan na lang nila ang mga armas nila kasi wala ng magbibitbit dahil kulang na ang kanilang mga miyembro gawa ng sunod-sunod na mass surrender sa Masbate. Muli naming pinapaalalahanan ang naiiwan pang mga miyembro ng komunistang terorista upang sila ay sumuko at magbagong buhay,” Almase said.

Police BGen. Jonnel Estomo, Regional Director of Police Regional Office 5 (PRO-5), commended the public’s support which makes the campaign of the government to make Masbate armed conflict-free attainable.

“Hindi po namin makakamit ang sunod-sunod na tagumpay na ito kung wala ang suporta ninyong mga Bicolano,” PBGen. Estomo concluded.

4 alleged communist rebels killed, 2 hurt in Negros Occidental clash – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   September 15, 2021

Four suspected communist rebels said to be operating in Western Visayas were killed, while two others were injured in an encounter with state troops in Negros Occidental, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.

PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said the clash occurred around 7:20 a.m. on Tuesday in Barangay Tabo in Ilog town. The firefight between the undetermined number of rebels and Special Action Force troopers and military operatives lasted for about an hour.

The firefight occurred while state troops were conducting an operation in response to intelligence reports on the presence of the communist rebels in the area.

“The gun battle lasted for one hour and 10 minutes that resulted in the death of the four terrorists. No casualties were reported on the government side. The PNP troops also recovered four long firearms,” Eleazar said in a statement.

One of the injured individuals was identified as Nilda Bertulano, allegedly the group’s southwest secretary.

The PNP said Bertulano is the subject of a Warrant of Arrest issued by Hon. Renato Muñez, Executive Judge of RTC Branch 60 of Cadiz City for the crime of murder.

“The wounded CPP-NPA terrorists will be given appropriate medical treatment until they can fully recover to face investigation and prosecution,” Eleazar said.

Police and military troops still at the encounter area are conducting mopping-up operations while other PNP combat troops established blocking positions at the possible exit routes of the fleeing terrorists, the PNP said.

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