By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. said on Thursday that as more members of the Communist New People’s Army surrender, it will continue to weaken their organization.
Madrigal made the remark after 22 high-ranking NPA members from Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Bukidnon provinces surrendered to the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) a day before the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrated its 50th founding anniversary on Dec. 26.
“They once again lost members who finally understood that they are not fighting for the Filipino people, but for their selfish leaders who use them to extort money and demonize the government. Happy anniversary indeed to the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Madrigal said in a statement.
Three NPA terrorists with three firearms from Bukidnon also surrendered to the 8th Infantry Battalion last Dec. 23 while an NPA terrorist from Agusan del Norte surrendered to the 23rd Infantry Battalion on Dec. 24.
A whole unit of the CCP-NPA operating at the boundary of Agusan Sur and Compostela Valley surrendered on Christmas Day. The 19 rebels surrendered with their leader who is known as “Boss Mark” and other commanding officers, secretary, squad leaders, medics, and members, to the 75th and 26th Infantry Battalions.
They brought along their firearms –an M16 rifle, an M203 grenade launcher, three M16 Bushmaster rifles, two M16 Elisco rifles, a baby M16, four pistols, thousands of ammunitions, several war materiel and subversive documents.
Madrigal said the rebels who surrendered are undergoing debriefing at the 401st Brigade of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.
“We are hoping that more leaders and members snap back to reality and realize that they can never have the upper hand on their so-called war,” Madrigal said.
The AFP chief said the communist terrorists had conducted atrocious attacks in the past weeks. He said they had lost more than 11,500 cadres in 2018.
“The CPP-NPA have no reason to celebrate and no achievements to be proud of. We are reminding them that their options remain the same: we are ready to accept them and they can avail of the benefits of ‘balik-loob’ or they might just die for a lost cause,” Madrigal said.
Army 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) commander Majo. Gen. Ronald C. Villanueva said the NPA members surrendered due to corruption within the CPP-NPA leadership.
It was reported that the rebels cited lies, deceit, corruption and crimes within their organization as the reasons that pushed them to give up.
“We welcome their surrender, it’s the best decision they have made for themselves and their families. They will be enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP),” Villanueva said.
“I’m calling on all NPA members to return to the fold of the law while you still have your chance. Your families are waiting for you. The senseless ideology of the CPP-NPA will not solve your problem, let us work together to end insurgency and live a peaceful and meaningful life before 2019 comes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Army 303rd Brigade Commander Colonel Benedict Arevalo, on the occasion of the celebration of the CPP’s anniversary by NPAs in Negros, said that CPP-NPA-NDF is either dreaming or hallucinating as they claim victory for the 50 years of their struggle.
He said if the NPAs could have won or taken over the country it should have been a long time ago.
“Yes, anybody is free to dream for as long as that dream will make better persons or organizations; but if it will make monsters out of them just like the three-headed monster as the CPP-NPA-NDF, then that dream should stop! So, the CPP-NPA-NDF should stop dreaming or hallucinating! Their sinister aspirations will never be a reality! The people will never support the reign of terror, hatred and deception of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Villanuva said.
“Fifty years of lies is just too much for the people to take. The CPP-NPA-NDF should stop believing in their own propaganda before they suffer living in their make believe wonderland detached from reality,” Villanueva said.