CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY , Philippines – Despite the claim of the military that its forces have weakened in the past few years, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), through its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA), has maintained that it has not lost its strength five decades after it was established as the insurgent group has been launching more than a hundred of offensives against the state forces in parts of Northern Mindanao just this year alone.
The CPP was founded 50 years ago on Dec. 26 and its armed struggle has been considered as the longest-running revolutionary movement in the world today.
In a statement, Norcen Manggubat, of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Region, has claimed that the armed insurgents have so far made 102 assaults against the military troops in 2018.
These attacks, Manggubat said, have resulted to 88 soldiers killed in action and 78 who were wounded in battle, while 16 NPA fighters lost their lives during these combat operations.
The most recent of these attacks was on Dec. 19, 2018, where the rebels sneaked into a military detachment in a village in New Tubigon, Sibagat town, Agusan del Sur and took captive two infantry soldiers and 12 members of the AFP-created militia, while they carted away assorted firearms from the government troopers.
No one was reported killed or wounded in that operation.
Manggubat said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is no longer undermining the Communist rebels’ capability in spite of the government’s pronouncements that the NPA forces and civilian support are eroding.
“The deployment of more enemy troops in the region only shows that it (AFP) cannot underestimate the victories gained by the [NPA] prompting (the state forces) to add three more battalions in addition to seven battalions in the past year,” Manggubat said.
The NPA has also decried the so-called mass surrender of its fighters and supporters in some areas in Bukidnon province, where the rebels have made several attacks in the past against corporations and security forces.
Manggubat said the surrender of about a thousand of its members, as claimed by the AFP was a pure lie.
“The truth is that majority of them were civilians who were deceived into believing that they were given livelihood assistance by the government but were presented as surrenderers after photos of them were taken,” he said.
Meanwhile, the AFP has called on members of the NPA to lay down their arms and go back to the fold of the law.
In a Dec. 24 message posted on social media, Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of the AFP’s Public Affairs Office, said: “Our lines of communication are also open to those who wish to take this opportunity to abandon the armed struggle and violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF and embrace a life of peace and prosperity with their family.”
In a separate statement, the AFP has also urged the people to be cautious against attacks from “terrorist groups,” referring to the CPP, NPA, and the National Democratic Front, the negotiating arm of the Maoist rebels.
“The threat of heightened atrocities marks another year of violence and manifests their nature as a terror group that works to undermine the government, disrupt national development, and damage public and private properties,” the AFP said. (davaotoday.com)