The number of New People’s Army (NPA) forces continue to dwindle nationwide, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
Arevalo said around 7,531 rebels have been neutralized from January 1 to June 28 this year – 71 killed, 114 captured and 7,346 who voluntarily surrendered.
Among those who surrendered were three rebel leaders from the NPA’s Sentro De Grabidad from Guerilla Front 30, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.
“Ayon sa mga sumuko, di na nila matagalan ang hirap sa bundok, gutom at pagod na sa pakikipaglaban, at sa pagtakbo-takbo at pagtatago-tago samantalang ang mag-uutos daw sa kanila na si (Communist Party of the Philippines founder) Ginoong (Jose Maria) Sison ay nabubuhay ng maginhawa at mariwasa doon sa ibayong dagat (According to the surrenderers, they cannot stand anymore the poverty in the mountains, the exhausting battles and the ceaseless running and hiding while the one who is commanding them (Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison) is living lavishly in another country),” Arevalo said.
Earlier, Sison said that they are withdrawing from the peace negotiations following the government’s decision to suspend the scheduled peace talks June 28 to 30.
The government decided to suspend the talks to give way to public participation in the peace process.
The CPP founder earlier claimed they are focused now on efforts to oust the present administration as it would be much easier to talk peace with the next leadership.
Arevalo added that this desire for peace by the rebels is an an indication that they are being hit hard by the ongoing military operations and in dire need of a reprieve.
“At sa kasalukuyang estado ng laban nila sa AFP, kailangan nilang humingi ng “time out” upang makapahinga sila, makapagpalakas ng armas, bala at tauhan, at ituloy ang armadong laban. Huwad na paghahangad ng kapayapaan (In the present state of their battle against the AFP, they have to ask for “time out” for them to rest, beef up their weaponry and manpower and continue with the armed struggle. This a fake desire for peace),” the AFP spokesperson stressed.