2 NPA rebels with gun yield daily in Northern Luzon

July 24, 2021 Christian D. Supnad 200 views

CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City – In a report to members of the Multi-Sector Governance Council (MSGC) during the 14th MSGC Assembly last Thursday, Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgso Jr., commander of Northern Luzon Command, revealed that from January to date, an average of “two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels with one firearm return to the government fold every day, a clear manifestation of the terrorist group’s imminent collapse in Northern and Central Luzon.”

NOLCOM records show that a total of 491 rebels surrendered with 185 firearms to the government in the first six months of the year, much higher as compared to last year’s 198 rebel surrenderers with 194 firearms.

These are apart from the 767 party members of the different NPA-affiliated mass organizations who withdrew their support from the terrorist group and pledged their allegiance to the government.

NOLCOM attributes the surge in surrenders and withdrawal of support to its unrelenting internal security operations and sustained community engagement through its community support program. In addition, 29 NPA personalities were also neutralized through armed encounters and joint law enforcement operations with the Philippine National Police.

It can be recalled that last July 16, combined elements of military and police unearthed an arms cache containing three M16 rifles at Bgy. San Jose, San Mariano, Isabela through information provided by former rebels.

Meanwhile, on that same day, a joint law enforcement operation was launched against two NPA personalities: Neptali Santos alias “Atong,” executive committee member of Komiteng Rehiyon Gitnang Luzon, and alias “Sandy,” a member of Kilusang Larangang Gerilya “TARZAM.”

Santos has pending arrest warrants for rebellion, two counts of murder and multiple counts of frustrated murder. A firefight ensued during the operation, as the two communist rebels fired at government security forces as they served the arrest warrants.

The firefight lasted for 10 minutes and resulted in the neutralization of the two NPA personalities and the recovery of one M16 rifle, two hand grenades, one Cal. .38 pistol, assorted live ammunition, war materiel and subversive documents.

“With the current rate of surrenders, it’s only a matter of time that the NPAs will be totally decimated in this part of the country and we will never waver in our commitment to sustain the peace and continue to foster development in this region,” Burgos said.

Burgos also updated the council members on the success of NOLCOM’s other campaign initiatives, particularly on territorial defense.

He emphasized that through strategic partnership, a desalination facility has been operationalized in Mavulis Island, the northernmost island of the country where a Philippine Marine detachment is situated to monitor closely the country’s northern maritime territory. The desalination facility can produce 1,500 liters of potable water in six hours of operation.

He also mentioned the active participation of the coastal communities in the efforts of NOLCOM to preserve the country’s sovereignty in the northern maritime domain. Some fisherfolks are members of the established maritime information network who serve as “eyes and ears” and enhance government efforts to monitor the northern territorial waters.

“The active support of our stakeholders has helped our campaign flourish. You inspired us to do more and achieve more. Rest assured that we will continue to exert our best efforts in the service of our people,” Burgos concluded.

Members of the MSGC lauded NOLCOM for its unwavering commitment in performing its mandate of protecting the people and defending the country’s sovereignty.

Dr. Myrna Q. Mallari, president of Tarlac State University and chairperson of NOLCOM’s MSGC, expressed her deepest gratitude to NOLCOM for a job well done.

“Congratulations for a job well done. The MSGC is here to extend our support to you, even in a small way. We are one with you in all your undertakings amidst the pandemic. Being a part of the MSGC is a privilege, as we were given the opportunity to serve our people with you,” Mallari said.

MSGC is an external advisory group comprised of individuals from the government, non-government organizations, academe, business and religious sector, who are responsible for monitoring and providing significant advice to NOLCOM in achieving its Transformation Roadmap, particularly on matters pertaining to governance and policy, resource planning and generation, strategic communication, and strategy review.