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Lacson pushes for localized peace talks; urges gov’t to exclude Sison from talks with Reds

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (Courtesy: pinglacson.com)

Senator Panfilo Lacson believes it is high time for the government to focus its peace talk efforts with those who do not listen to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison.

Lacson stressed that the strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels differs depending on their localities and that a localized peace talks is a much better way to stop the problem with communist rebels.

The senator said, “such a move is long in coming. I have always believed that this is the better way to deal with the five-decade insurgency problem.”

Lacson made the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to create a new peace panel tasked to “oversee” localized peace talks.

Lacson added that he had dealt with the NPA when he was still with the Philippine National Police which he headed from 1999 to 2001 and had been battling for localized peace talks since then up until now as a member of the Senate.

“I have been batting for localized peace talks and in fact strongly suggested the same to former Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in one committee hearing of the Senate Committee on Peace and Unification chaired and presided by Senator Gregorio Honasan II,” he added.

Lacson also suggested that local government officials negotiate with guerilla leaders in areas where the NPA is not that influential, while the military focuses on areas where the NPAs are a threat.

 “So it is better that governors and mayors and other LGU officials be the ones to talk to local communist guerrillas, under the guidance and direction of a government peace panel that will provide the parameters for such localized peace talks but with enough flexibility in handling such peace initiatives,” he said.

Lacson believes that it is useless to deal with Sison, as he does not have control over the NPA.

“Experience has shown that while Sison asks for a ceasefire and government accommodates his request, NPAs continue conducting ambushes and raids. This shows Sison no longer has control over the NPA’s armed regulars,” Lacson added.

The NPA, the armed wing of the CPP, had been declared by the Philippine government, as well as the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, as a terrorist organization. – Maris Federez

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3 NPA terrorists killed in Mindoro encounter

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

Courtesy: (2DPAO, 2ID, PA)

RIZAL, Philippines — Three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist group were killed in an encounter with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the town of Mansalay in Oriental Mindoro province.

The encounter took place on Thursday afternoon (June 13) and lasted for almost two hours.

According to BGen. Marceliano Teofilo, the commander of the 203rd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro Province, they received information from concerned citizen that the NPA terrorists in the area will conduct training to their newly recruited members of which some were believed to be minors.

“This prompted us to conduct Focused Military Operation (FMO) and our troops were able to locate their whereabouts, and fire fight broke,” Teofilo said.

The military also recovered three M16 rifles; one AK-47; one cal.45 with 2 magazines; one grenade launcher tube; two improvised explosive devices (IED) and switch; three blasting caps; two cellphones; and assorted kinds of ammunitions at the encounter site.

According to the report, one soldier from the Army’s 4IB was slightly wounded in the left ear but is now in safe condition.

Lt.Col. Alexander Arbolado, Battalion Commander of the 4IB said they already dispatched additional troops and K9 units to track the whereabouts of the retreating rebels.

“We will not let them go until they are totally destroyed,” he said.

BGen. Teofilo calls on the NPA rebels to surrender or else “suffer the fate of their comrades” as the military will not stop in pursuing them.

Meanwhile, Army’s 2nd Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban said “the intel community is now validating the reports that an NPA Commander was slain during the encounter”.

If it’s true, BGen. Teofilo said it would be a major blow to the NPA rebel unit in Mindoro.

“Their days are numbered and in just a matter of time the NPA here will be on the verge of collapse due to their numerous setbacks in armed encounters and snowballing of surrenderees,” he noted.

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DILG to Reds: Spare the youth from lies, deception

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday called on communist rebel groups to stop recruiting students and out-of-school youth into their movement.

“Spare our young people from your lies and deception.Huwag ninyong sirain ang kinabukasan nila. Huwag ninyo silang linlangin at idamay sa mga pakana ninyo para mag-aklas laban sa gobyerno,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Año, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the youth are easy to manipulate and brainwash making them priority target recruits of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“The youth should be in school and not in the mountains,” he said. 

“The youth are a brave, curious and adventurous bunch. So, the communists take advantage of these qualities along with their vulnerabilities to deceive, manipulate, and threaten them into becoming one of their own,” he added.

Año made the remark following the death of several teenaged NPA combatants in previous encounters with government forces.

The DILG chief also called on the youth not to fall for the communists’ deception and smooth talk.

“I tell you, it is a trap. They will sow hatred and lies into your heads so that you will become their vessel to unknowingly work to push their twisted ideology,” he said.

Año further stated that communist terrorist groups capitalize on issues like cost of education, neglect of the youth sector, poor internet connection, lack of career opportunities, among other socioeconomic issues to agitate the young people and indoctrinate them on the communist ideology.

“The communist terrorists poison the minds of our children by teaching them to hate the government and arming them with guns. This form of child trafficking must stop,” he said.

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AFP foils NPA extortion, seizes arms cache in Rizal

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

Courtesy: AFP-2DPAO

RIZAL, Philippines — Elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 80IB recovered assorted fire arms and ammunition during an intelligence operation against members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the province last week.

According to the information from 202nd Brigade spokesperson and 2DPAO Chief Army Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban, soldiers were able to seize three firearms, five hand grenades and a rifle grenade in Sitio Batangasan, Barangay San Andres in the municipality of Tanay on Thursday (May 16).

80IB Commander Lt. Col. Christopher Diaz reported that “the war materiels belong to the terrorists’ extortion group who were targeting the farms in the area and, for the longest time, have been threatening the people of Tanay,”

“Your soldiers are, and will always be, ready to respond to any NPA terroristic actions,” Diaz assured the public while asking for the community’s continued support, cooperation and vigilance.

Meanwhile, Acting Commander (2ID) BGen. Elias Escarcha lauded the success of the troops’ operations against the NPA terrorists branded “enemies of the state”.

“The fact that the NPA terrorists left these war materiel as they tried to leave the area in a hurry is a manifestation of the NPA’s prevailing fear upon the government’s military might and their diminished will to fight,” Escarcha said.

202IB Commander BGen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, who has jurisdiction over CALABARZON, commended the operation saying “this accomplishment is a product of our former rebel engagements” wherein those who surrendered “actively participate in the government’s campaign against the NPA terrorists”. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Jennica Cruz / 2DPAO)

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