AFP sees demoralization among Reds with death of ranking leader

By Priam Nepomuceno

October 11, 2022, 2:26 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday said the death of New People's Army (NPA) leader Romeo Nanta, also known as Juanito Magbanua, will create a leadership vacuum and demoralization among the insurgents' ranks.

"The AFP expects that the death of Nanta will mean a more secure and peaceful Negros Island," AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said in a statement Tuesday.

Nanta is the head of the Regional Operational Command of the NPA units operating in Negros Island and the Central Visayas region. He is also the spokesperson of the NPA's Apolinario Gatmaitan Command.

Nanta was killed following an encounter with 94th Infantry Battalion troops in Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental on Monday.

This is the fifth in the recent series of clashes between the military and NPA rebels, with the first starting on Oct. 6.

Aguilar said Nanta's death can be considered a major blow to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

"He is directly responsible for all the crimes committed by NPA members under his command. He has existing warrants of arrest for rebellion, robbery-in-band, and attempted and frustrated murder," Aguilar said.

Aguilar added that the AFP leadership commends the troops of the 3rd Infantry Division under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo for their "firm resolve and relentless efforts to bring peace to the whole Central and Western Visayas Regions." (PNA)