3rd Marine Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Nestor Herico (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The death of five communist terrorists, including three ranking officials of the organization, in an encounter in Brooke's Point, Palawan on Sept. 3 could further cause the crumbling of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA)'s Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC).

This is now a clear possibility according to 3rd Marine Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Nestor Herico who identified the three fatalities as among the country's most wanted communist terrorists holding key positions in the STRPC which is based in Batangas.

In an interview with “Usapang Pangkapayapaan, Usapang Pangkaunlaran" (UP UP Pilipinas) on Sept. 4, he named the slain ranking insurgents as Bonifacio Magramo, also known as “Salvador Luminoso,” CPP-NPA secretary of the STRPC;  Andrea Rosal, alias “Ka Naya,” coordinator of the Palawan provincial party committee and deputy secretary of the STRPC; and Noel Siasico, alias “Ka Celso,” of the NPA’s front operational command.

Meanwhile, the other slain rebels were Ren "RJ" Manalo, alias “Ka Amir", reportedly a Gabriela official in Mindoro.

Killed in the government side during the encounter was  Palawan native Marine Staff Sgt. Cesar Barlas.

He confirmed that Rosal was the daughter of the late Gregorio Rosal, alias “Ka Roger,"  the former spokesman of the STRPC.

Also captured were an AK-47 automatic rifle, two M-16 automatic rifles, an M-14 assault rifle, a Baby Armalite, five laptops, eight smartphones, and 15 analog cell phones.

Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief, Major Gen. Ernesto Torres, Jr., who also a guest in the program, lauded the Marine commander for the successful operation and said that this will aid in the further crippling of the NPA movement especially in Palawan.

Another guest of "UP UP Pilipinas", which was hosted by Air Force Col. Gerardo Zamudio, Jr., Eric Almendras of the National Cabinet Team in the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) said the captured materials indicated the NPA group encountered by the 3rd Marine Brigade possessed high-value subversive materials pertaining to the subregional area.

He also raised the possibility that a plenum or joint meeting was held in the area as Rosal was present along with regional committee representatives of the STRPC.

Almendras said Rosal held an important post as coordinator for the provincial party committee of Palawan, which is part of the NPA sub-regional military area and has a connection with the southwestern side of Mindoro, a known area of the NPA.

Zamudio said Rosal was arrested previously in Batangas but was released shortly after the National Democratic Front claimed that she was not a member of the NPA and any other terrorist groups.

Rosal used to be present and active in so-called legal organizations but what people don't know is that these groups had links with the underground movement of the communist terrorist group connected with the armed insurgents, Torres said.

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

Meanwhile, Herico appealed to the remaining rebels to surrender and avail of the various livelihood and poverty reduction programs under Executive Order 70, which was signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in December 2018, for the attainment of inclusive and sustainable peace by institutionalizing the whole-government approach in ending communist armed conflict.

He added that the people of  Palawan are very desirous for peace as the province relies on the tourism industry to boost up its economy.

The desire for peace, he said, is why Palawan residents reject overtures of the communist terrorists and report their activities of the NPA to them.

 “UP UP Pilipinas”, a public affairs program that serves as the Philippine Air Force’s contribution to the public affairs requirements of NTF ELCAC, is aired during weekdays at 3 p.m. over DWGV AM 792khz- Central Luzon, DWDD 1134 kHz- Manila, and other radio stations throughout the country.

A video recording of the program is uploaded every, day to the social media accounts of NTFELCAC, Presidential Communications Operations Office, "UP UP Pilipinas" and on PAF Virtual TV.  (PNA)