By Jennifer P. Rendon
The New People’s Army (NPA) failed to influence the incoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE), the Philippine Army claimed.
Major General Marion Sison, 3rd Infantry Division, said that Army troops aggressively conducted combat operations in Central and Western Visayas, especially in far-flung areas that were earlier considered as NPA-influenced areas and those with intense political rivalry.
“We made sure that the NPA will not influence or support their candidates,” he said.
Sison said they have not received a single confirmed report of the existence of a “permit to campaign” or “permit to win.”
Because of the active conduct of focused military operations, he said that rebels were pushed to the hinterlands.
“They can’t go near the poblacion now,” Sison said.
Soldiers patrolling the hinterlands have not reported sightings of armed rebels in areas previously frequented by rebels.
“Maybe, it’s because we have co-located with them. We ran after them. So they are always on the run. Wala na silang time na makapag plano to do what they want to do,” he said.
On top of that, he added that most of the barangays are in support of the government’s campaign to end the local communist armed conflict.
Sison is confident that the Task Force ELCAC (Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict) has made headway in the government’s pursuit to end the insurgency.