NPA no longer enjoys mass base support, says Army General

By Saul Pa-a

July 31, 2018, 10:06 pm

CAMP GENERAL MATEO CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – The New People’s Army (NPA) communist terrorist group no longer enjoys mass base support in the province of Batangas, Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr, commander of the 202nd Brigade of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division, said Tuesday.

"This only proves our assessment that the insurgency in Batangas is now on the verge of collapse,” Burgos said, citing Monday’s clash between the government troops and the rebels and the skirmish in Laiya Aplaya, also in San Juan town, last week.

Burgos made the assessment as pursuit operations are still ongoing following the more than an hour gun battle between the Philippine Army’s 202nd Infantry Brigade and the NPA rebels erupted in San Juan, Batangas at 11:20 a.m. Monday.

He said the armed encounter ensued after elements of the 1st Infantry Battalion conducted interdiction operations against the terrorists after receiving information from concerned civilians, who were being forced to give food and money to the NPA terrorist group.

The rebels even told the civilian populace that they were planning to harass the patrol base in Barangay Bulsa in preparation for a coordinated attack on different resorts in the eco-tourism zone of San Juan.

Reports reaching this camp said no casualty was reported on the government side during Monday’s firefight but the enemies suffered multiple casualties, based from the heavy bloodstains on the NPAs’ withdrawal route.

The military also recovered an M16A1 rifle, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) of the Claymore and grenade type components with paraphernalia, MacBook laptop, USB, cellular phones, numerous war materials and voluminous enemy documents left behind at the encounter site.

Burgos said the intelligence community is validating reports that the terrorist group was coercing and agitating informal settlers at Barangay Laiya Aplaya, San Juan last week during the demolition of shanties encroaching on private lands in San Juan’s main tourist area and beach zone.

Last week’s clash led to the killing of two unarmed security guards and resulted in 18 other unarmed security personnel injured from what seemed like a mob’s furious attack against the private land security personnel.

He assessed that since 2017, the communist insurgency in Batangas has suffered serious debacles from the military, “including what is now known in the history of Luzon as the greatest single-encounter loss of the terrorists when 14 NPAs were killed, 13 firearms were recovered and one terrorist was apprehended.”

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Rhoderick M. Parayno, commander of the Army’s 2ID called on the NPAs to give up their armed struggle.

“Time and again, we have seen the government’s overwhelming military might. We do not rejoice in killing our fellow Filipinos. Give up your arms and join us in pursuing peace, prosperity and development for our country and people,” he said.

Also, the military commanders in Region 4A attributed their active intelligence gathering to the trust and support of the different sectors, agencies and civilians in the Calabarzon Region comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon. (PNA)