DAVAO CITY – After a series of neutralization of leaders of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Southern Mindanao Regional Command (SMRC), an official from the 10th Infantry Division (10ID) said the communist organization is on the "brink of collapse."
Capt. Mark Anthony Tito, the spokesperson of the 10ID, in an interview over SMNI's "Laban Kasama ang Bayan" program on Thursday, said the SMRC is one of the strongest units of the NPA but if fully dismantled, all other units of the NPA across the country will also crumble.
“It is the start of the end of the reign of NPA not only in the Mindanao but all over the country. They are already on the brink of collapse,” he said.
Among the SMRC leaders neutralized by government troops were Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, commander and spokesperson of the NPA’s national operations command and spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao; Anna Sandra Reyes alias Kaye Secretary of the Regional White Area Committee under SMRC; and Menandro Villanueva alias Bok, the longest-serving Secretary SMRC.
Villanueva, Tito said, belonged to the top NPA leaders operating the country led by its founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison and followed by Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma Austria-Tiamzon.
“These neutralizations have a very huge impact in the overall operation of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA,” Tito said, adding that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA in Mindanao has only three guerilla fronts remaining and is bound for collapse this year.
“We have achieved the given timeline of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and currently we are now pursuing Eric Casilao alias Wally/Elian also a high-ranking member of the SMRC,” he said.
He assured that Casilao will also be neutralized in due time since he is still in the operation area where Villanueva was neutralized.
“We can neutralize Casilao anytime from now. It might not be easy, but it is very possible as we have proven it with the neutralization of Kaye and Bok,” Tito said.
Tito said the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) under the Duterte administration has a major contribution to the success of the series of neutralization.
The NTF-ELCAC is a task force organized by the government of the Philippines to respond and raise awareness of the ongoing communist rebellion in the Philippines.
It was created to synchronize the utilization of the government's instrumentalities of power with the capabilities of government and private sector stakeholders to finally end the more than 50 years of deceit, lies, and atrocities committed by the CPP-NPA.
“We will not be able to accomplish this without the NTF-ELCAC or the whole of nation approach. The government and the private sector are in unison in achieving peace that is why we have this accomplishment,” Tito added.
He pointed out that Executive Order (EO) 70, which created the NTF-ELCAC, is the backbone of their operations.
EO70 seeks to institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach for collective participation and action in harmonizing government development efforts and services to support, facilitate and pursue the country's peace agenda.
“We are grateful to all our stakeholders for the overwhelming support. We are calling the public to continuously support the programs of the NTF-ELCAC,” he added.
The 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 inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)