By Jennifer P. Rendon
As the number of the New People’s Army (NPA) members dwindles, so does the support they get.
“They are a dying group. They’re now having their huling hikbi (last sob),” Major General Marion Sison, Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division commander, said.
In their last stretch, the NPA might attempt to wage terroristic activities in a bid to hold on a little more, Sison added.
“So, you better prepare and thwart their desperate moves,” he told the 3rd ID personnel, as he addressed members of the Joint PNP-Army Intelligence Committee for Regions 6 and 7 during the culmination of their workshop held at the 3rd ID headquarters at Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz on Nov. 14.
Deemed a tedious process, the said workshop is a mechanism aimed at evaluating, analyzing and validating the true identities of reported personalities, leadership, structures and capabilities of the communist terrorist group (CTG) in the operational jurisdiction of the 3rd ID.
Sison told members of the Joint PNP-Army Intelligence Committee to be more vigilant and proactive, as the remaining CTG in Western and Central Visayas may embark on and stage desperate moves to create havoc and instill fear among innocent civilians just to prove that they are still a force to reckon with.
“The NPAs are dying and having their “huling hikbi”. But, we should not be complacent. We should be prepared to prevent any CTG-perpetrated atrocities especially during their anniversary this December,” he said.
The Army commander in the Visayas said they should be relentless in the conduct of combat operations until they are able to dismantle all the remaining guerilla fronts.
“We hope to eventually declare the islands of Negros and Panay as insurgency-free,” Sison said.
For the 4th quarter alone, the 3rd ID recorded 11 encounters with the CTG which resulted in the death of four rebels.
There were nine active members and 58 militias (mass supporters) who surrendered while 23 assorted firearms were seized.
Of the 11 encounters, the 3rd ID regarded the encounters in EB Magalona, Himamaylan City and Binalbagan, all in Negros Occidental, as the three most significant.
The clash in EB Magalona happened at Barangay Canlusong on Oct. 17 where five rebels were killed and five high-powered firearms were recovered.
On the other hand, members of the 94th Infantry Brigade clashed with NPA members on Nov. 8 at Barangay Buenavista, which resulted in the seizure of seven high-powered firearms.
On Oct. 6, members of the 62nd IB also encountered NPA rebels at Barangay Santol, which led to the recovery of an M60 general-purpose machine gun.
Sison cited the Army troops in the Visayas for gaining headway in the 3rd ID’s Internal Security Operations (ISO).
He also underscored good intelligence efforts citing that troops on the ground cannot effectively execute their strategies if they don’t have something to start with.
As such, he encouraged them to continuously do their best to support and give the operating units very good “intelligence, which he deemed to be a game changer for them to accomplish their mission.