Operations conducted by military and police units have so far neutralized 5,164 New People’s Army (NPA) members and supporters for the first nine months of the year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on September 27, 2020.
This can be broken down into 169 communist terrorists killed in focused military operations, 4,777 former rebels who have chosen to abandon the insurgency movement, and 218 who were arrested by security forces.
“Our recent successes in combating the communist scourge would not have been possible without our strong partnership with our counterparts in the Philippine National Police (PNP),” AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in a statement.
Last Sept. 24, the AFP and the PNP concluded the National Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center meeting, which has so far been successful in instilling the joint operations concept between military and police units nationwide.
The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“We have once again convened to ensure the continuous synchronization of our respective efforts in winning the peace, intensifying security, and bringing to justice those who have caused chaos and spread terror in their attempt to corrupt the peace and democracy that we all have been preserving,” Gapay said.
Recent joint operations have resulted in the neutralization of notorious communist leaders nationwide, including a certain “Mitchel Fat,” who was killed after resisting government forces serving arrest warrants late in August in Ilog, Negros Occidental.
He was believed to have masterminded the killing of four policemen in Ayungon, Negros Oriental in July 2019.
Meanwhile, elements of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and the 1st Police Mobile Force Company in Surigao Del Sur also apprehended during a checkpoint operation, Sarvina Rivas Quijano, a finance staff of the communist terrorist group in northeastern Mindanao.
She was accosted and found carrying two improvised explosive devices (IED) along with other IED paraphernalia.
Also, combined forces of 81st Infantry Battalion and Ilocos Sur Provincial Police Office also arrested the top ranking NPA leader operating in Abra identified as Joel Sibalo Banganan and Ranny Velle Urbis, an NPA leader operating in Ilocos Sur last Aug. 14 in Barangay Damacuag, Santa Lucia, Ilocos Sur.
Mario Caraig, an NPA leader operating in the Southern Tagalog region, was also killed by AFP-PNP forces in Kalayaan, Laguna on Aug. 7.
Aside from the neutralization of high-value targets, the AFP and the PNP also confirmed the dismantling of eight so-called guerrilla fronts this year.
The dismantling involves the destruction of communists’ fighting force and its support and propaganda systems, rendering them incapable of staging attacks, recruiting new members, and generating funds.
The AFP said three of the dismantled terrorist cells were from Luzon, two were from Visayas, and three were from Mindanao.
“Combined together, the AFP and the PNP is a formidable force that the communist terrorist group should fear when we meet on the ground. As we further improve our lines of cooperation, and with the cooperation of different stakeholders in peace and security, we are confident that we can meet our target of ending the communist scourge by 2022,” Gapay said.
He also thanked PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan for continuing to be a reliable partner in the operations against the communist terrorists.
Both agencies also committed to support the National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict, which has so far been successful in uniting national and local government agencies to achieve a complete victory against the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front.
The AFP and the PNP are members of the Peace, Law Enforcement, and Development Support cluster of NTF ELCAC, alongside the Philippine Coast Guard and the National Bureau of Investigation. (Priam Nepomuceno, PNA)