Lack of leaders’ support forces NPA fighters to surrender

Lack of proper financial support from their so-called leaders forces more New People’s Army (NPA) fighters and their supporters to surrender to the government, a ranking National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) official said November 26, 2019.

Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, said this revelation was based on the accounts of surrendered former rebels (FRs).

“Many more NPAs and cadres are actually raising their hands in surrender. FRs have complained that ‘Joma’ (Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison) has been pushing them to their limits but they are not being supported properly. Their platoon subsists on PHP45,000 a month based on records recovered in Mindoro,” he said in a statement to the Philippine News Agency.

Aside from lack of financial support, NPAs wounded in combat with military troops ar4 not given proper medical treatment, unlike ranking communist rebels who are provided with the best of everything.

Parlade cited the case of Jaime Padilla alias Ka Diego, NPA Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee spokesperson who was captured by security forces while undergoing treatment at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City on Monday night.

“While the ordinary wounded NPAs cannot even be brought to a hospital, Jaime Padilla, who is also a member of (the CPP) Central Committee, can afford medical checks up and hospitalization in exclusive and private hospitals like the Cardinal Santos Medical Center,” he added.

Padilla, concurrent Deputy Secretary-General of SRMA 4D operating in Mindoro, has a standing warrant for arrest for multiple murder and kidnapping.

He also dismissed militant group Karapatan’s claim that Padilla should be released from jail as he is already old, pointing out that seniority does not prevent Sison from ordering his NPA terrorists to conduct attacks against military troops.

“Karapatan again wants him released because he is old? ‘Joma’ is even older but has been ordering his NPAs to conduct attacks on government forces. Is Padilla, who is much younger unable to follow through with its orders to his minions in Southern Tagalog and Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan region)? What kind of logic is that?” Parlade added.

Padilla, he said, cannot claim to be “hors de combat” (refers to persons incapable of performing their ability to wage war and accorded special protection) as the NPA leader was not in combat when arrested in a law enforcement operation as proven by his existing warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 46 of the San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

The rule on hors de combat, under non-international armed conflict as provided under Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibits “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds”.

Hors de combat can only be applied during ongoing combat operations to the following:

* Persons under the power of the military/State;

* Persons who are defenseless such that under conditions of sickness, shipwreck, wounded; and

* Those who already surrendered or who has the intention to surrender

Lack of credible leadership

Parlade added that lack of seasoned and credible leadership in the NPA would cause the surrender of more fighters and supporters in the coming days.

“Without seasoned cadres guiding the younger generation of CPP-NPA leaders, the organization is bound to lose more fighters from demoralization. Recovered document in Samar titled ‘Limang-Taong Programa Programa ng Partido (2017-2021)’, one of the reasons for the massive surrender of their forces in Northern Luzon, Calabarzon, and Mindanao is poor leadership. In ‘Taktikang Programa’, the recovered CPP document admits to internal mistakes and weaknesses which have caused damage to the organization,” he aid.

The mistakes committed by the communist rebels are political, in their bureaucracy, and collective weaknesses in their leadership and workflow, he added.

“Mga pagkakamali at kapabayaan sa pamumunong pampulitika, burukratismo, mahinang kolektibong pamumuno at iba pang kahinaan sa estilo ng paggawa at pamumuno,” an excerpt of the document reads.

It also claimed that ways and means must be found to stop and address the ongoing surrender trends of the CPP-NPA.

“Bakit maraming bumababa? Malaki ang kwerpo ng mga kadre, kung paano pataasin at mapaunlad ang kamulatan ng pwersa, kailangan tinitingnan ang kalagayan,” the document added.

SPARU operations

Captured documents claimed that communist rebels are planning to conduct Special Partisan Unit (SPARU) operations in urban centers to terrorize, destabilize, and punish counter-revolutionaries and stem the flow of surrenders.

“The CPP-NPA is becoming desperate in arresting the growing trend of surrenders. They will now resort to measures to terrorize the people by all means. This confirms the revelations made by James Durimon alias ‘Juros’, a former SPARU who surrendered in Panay last September,” he added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Priam Nepomuceno, PNA)

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