TACLOBAN CITY – The recent surrender of 12 staunch mass-based supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Abuyog, Leyte is a huge setback to the communist terrorist group's effort to influence communities.
Maj. Ryann Velez, acting spokesperson of the Philippine Army's 802nd Infantry Brigade said in a phone interview on Thursday these NPA allies belonging to the rebel’s politico-military group, have been helpful in the NPA’s effort to retake control in some Leyte villages.
“We are running after some remnants of the NPA in Leyte and crucial to their existence in the province is the support of masses. With their surrender, that means our enemies are losing resources,” Velez said.
The military identified the surrenderers as Lucy, Linda, Roger, Marites, Pidyo, Eduardo, Victor, Roberto, Bibi, Larry, Cesar, and Renato, all residents of a remote community in Balocawehay village in Abuyog town.
The 12 surrendered to the village officials in Balocawehay, Abuyog town on Oct. 1.
NPA terrorist leader Fermin Guzon recruited them three years ago with promises of assistance through the so-called “agrarian revolution”.
In exchange, they attended series of meetings and allowed themselves to be used either as contacts, active couriers, and supporters in villages.
The surrenderers revealed that their move to yield has aborted Guzon’s plan of establishing a politico-military organization in their village with the 12 of them composing the core group.
Their surrender brings to 33 the total active NPA supporters, couriers, candidate party members, and contacts who surrendered to authorities in recent months in Leyte province.
NPA supporters, according to Velez, are more dangerous than fighters since they interact with government forces without being noticed as rebels. They have been providing vital information to the communist group.
“Formers rebels formed into a peacebuilders group has helped a lot in convincing their friends to completely abandon the communist ideology,” Velez said.
The official believes that recent sightings of armed rebels in upland areas of Abuyog, Mahaplag, Burauen, Ormoc City, Kananga, and Carigara in Leyte indicate that there are still organized NPA supporters in the province.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)