TACLOBAN CITY – Soldiers discovered on Saturday night a hillside bunker and a food cache of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the outskirts of Kananga, Leyte, indicating plans to launch attacks against government forces.
The Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade said in a statement released on Monday that the bunker became the hiding place of the NPA’s semi-legal team led by a certain Juanito Selleza alias "Tibor" after the soldiers raided their lair also in Kananga town in September 2020.
A rebel who recently surrendered to authorities disclosed that Selleza ordered the construction of the six-meter by six-meter bunker on a mountain as a venue for meetings of their comrades coming from other areas. It has a sleeping quarter and flowing potable water.
Near the lair, soldiers also unearthed four 20-liter tightly-sealed plastic containers of rice that was reportedly collected from their mass supporters in a nearby community, and stored by the NPA for consumption rice during meetings.
“This discovery of the cache of food supplies indicates the plan of the communist terrorist group in the area to recover their lost mass base and possible conduct of atrocities against government forces and communities. But due to the revelation of the former rebels who are now our partners, the terrorist group’s plan was foiled,” Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros, commander of the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade, said.
Oliveros lauded members of the Carigara Integrated Peace and Development Association for providing information that led to the discovery of NPA lairs in Leyte and identification of NPA leaders, regular members, and mass supporters.
The association is a group of former rebels organized by the local Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict to help end insurgency. Various government agencies and local government units have been providing livelihood assistance to these former rebels.
NPA members moved to Kananga from nearby Carigara town in recent months after members of the Municipal Upland Farmers of Carigara, an affiliate of the NPA-organized farmers group abandoned the organization and withdrew their support from communist rebels.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) - NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)