MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reiterates its call for members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to yield to authorities and return to their respective families.
This, after the recent capture of one of the NPA’s leaders Jaime Padilla in San Juan City.
The AFP believes Padilla’s arrest hugely impacted the operations of the communist group.
Padilla served as the group’s spokesperson for its Southern Luzon unit.
AFP Spokesperson BGen. Edgard Arevalo, Padilla was arrested with the help of information received from concerned residents in the area.
He was responsible for the massive recruitment of minors and students luring them to join the militant group, most of them coming from Laguna and Batangas.
Arevalo stressed that the communist group is just taking advantage of the ongoing truce to build up its forces.
Based on AFP’s estimate, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) has grown in membership to 4,000 members across the country.
“Ang aming hinala, ang aming nakikita, ang aming assessment, dahil sa mga nagdaan na mga ceasefire or peace negotiations, nakapag-recruit sila kaya nadagdagan pa ang kanilang bilang, (Based on our assessment, they are taking advantage of the ceasefire and the peace negotiations to reinforce their group),” Arevalo said.
Even so, the AFP is continuously encouraging members of the rebel group to surrender and return to the government so they could have the chance to reunite with their loved ones especially this holiday season.
“We also would like to tell them to take advantage not only of this program of government but to take advantage of the Christmas season,” Arevalo said.
“It’s time for them to be reunited with their families — the families that they have long abandoned,” he added.
At present, the military have already neutralized a total of 8,707 NPA members from January 1 to November 20 this year.
Of this number, 8,336 rebels surrendered; 121 were killed in encounters while 250 were captured alive.
Likewise, authorities were able to seize a total of 1,537 assorted firearms and 404 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from the rebel group. – MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)
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