54 NPA rebels ‘neutralized’ in September 2023

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – A total of 54 New People’s Army (NPA) members were neutralized by military troopers in 12 government-initiated armed encounters in Visayas last month.

Of the figure, 19 died during encounters, 32 have returned to the folds of the law, while three others were apprehended, based on the data from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Visayas Command (VISCOM).

Government troops also seized 38 assorted firearms and nine anti-personnel mines for the said period.

The figure highlighted three major engagements and a mass surrender. These include the armed encounters that transpired in Bilar, Bohol and Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental through the efforts of the 47th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the 302nd Infantry Brigade (IBde), tallying a total of 12 NPA rebels neutralized with 11 firearms recovered.

Also included was the clash in Leon, Iloilo through the efforts of the 61st IB under the 301st IBde, with three NPA rebels neutralized, and two firearms recovered.

Lieutenant General Benedict Arevalo, AFP VISCOM commander, stressed that the collective efforts with the local government units (LGUs) in clearing the barangays from NPA infestation have gained ground.

The people are now aware and they have become more active in supporting our internal security operations, Arevalo said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the mass surrender of NPA rebels in Sagay City, Negros Occidental through the efforts of the 79th IB of the 303rd IBde which yielded 12 remnants of the dismantled NPA’s Northern Negros Front (NNF), and surrender of 12 assorted firearms, also contributed in the series of setbacks suffered by the rebel group throughout the Visayas region.

“These debacles suffered by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA will add up to the dwindling manpower and degrading armed capability that the terrorist group is suffering,” Arevalo said.

He added that this will significantly deter their plans to conduct atrocities and sow fear to the people in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

“They are now restless and under so much pressure,” Arevalo said, as he continued to urge the remaining members of the CPP-NPA to return to the folds of the law.

“We will remain persistent in our call for genuine peace and reconciliation. For we will never back down, and will never waver in our efforts in pursuing peace for our people,” he said.