Eastmincom breaks up 18 NPA units in 2022

By Che Palicte

January 3, 2023, 4:13 pm

DAVAO CITY – The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has managed to tear apart 18 New People’s Army (NPA) units in its area of responsibility in 2022.

Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, Eastmincom commander, said they are anticipating the imminent collapse of the communist rebel units within their joint operational area, consisting mainly of the NPA's five sub-regional committees (SRC), nine guerilla fronts (GFs), and four vertical units.

In a statement Tuesday, Almerol said that of the 32 GFs confronted by Eastmincom since the Campaign Plan "Kalinaw Sidlakang Mindanao" in 2017, at least 88 percent of the target NPA units have already been destroyed, while the four remaining GFs "are at their weakest."

Almerol said the GF19, SRC Southland, and North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee are among the "most notorious" NPA units in the Caraga Region that the military has dismantled.

These rebel units, he said, forcibly recruited indigenous peoples and minors to join the NPA.

"The GF19 was involved in operating former NPA-linked schools in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, where the IPs children were brainwashed and recruited in the terrorist movement. Its dismantling is an open door for the future declaration of strategic victory in the Caraga region, where significant NPA formations remain," Almerol added.

Aside from the dismantled NPA units, the Eastmincom also neutralized 533 NPA regulars, with 71 killed, 48 captured, and 416 surrendered last year.

Eastmincom, he said, also managed to convince 198 underground mass organizations and personalities to withdrew their support for the NPA.

Among the "high-value" individuals neutralized during the period were Menandro "Bok" Villanueva, the secretary of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee/Komisyon Mindanao and third vice-chairperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP); Pedro "Gonyong" Codaste, the second top-ranking NPA commander in Mindanao; and 55 other leaders.

Meanwhile, the Eastmincom said the NPA firepower further declined this year as government troops recovered 631 firearms and 121 anti-personnel mines through combat operations.

Eastmincom troops also discovered 91 enemy hideouts within the period.

Eastmincom said its biggest achievement for 2022 is the declaration of the Davao Region as "insurgency-free" on Oct. 27.

“This is the result of the successive defeats of the remaining NPA units in the five Davao provinces and one highly-urbanized city,” Almerol said.

He credited these accomplishments to the "convergence" of local government units, national government agencies, and the military under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Almerol also reiterated his call to the remaining NPA forces to "surrender peacefully" since most of their top-ranking leaders, such as CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, are already dead.

"The death of Jose Maria Sison and the neutralization of your other leaders signal that the collapse of your organization is imminent. Surrender to avoid the same consequence, and we will ensure that you will receive the benefits of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program," he said. (PNA)