Army official cites dwindling ranks of NPA rebels
By Freddie G. Lazaro
Vigan City (5 August) -- A ranking army official announced the continuous decrease in strength of the New People's Army (NPA) operating in Ilocos and Cordillera provinces covering Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Abra, Benguet and Mountain Province, it was learned.
This developed when some of the NPA guerrilla fronts operating in the area were dismantled due to the intense anti – insurgency operations spearheaded by the Philippin Army with the support of the police operatives and the local populace in the area.
Colonel Roy T. De Vesa, Commander of the Army's 50th Infantry Battalion based in San Juan, Ilocos Sur, disclosed that there's now only one guerrilla front remaining from the reported four NPA fronts operating in Ilocos – Cordillera regions last year.
"At present, there's now only one guerrilla front operating in the provinces of Ilocos and Cordillera regions which is the Kilusang Larangang Guerilya (KLG) Medina. The three other fronts were already dismantled last year and the remaining elements of each fronts were reportedly converged into one front which is the KLG Medina," De Vesa said.
Intelligence sources, according to De Vesa, the said rebel front was composed of four small party operating groups such as the PG Greenhills operating in Quirino, Ilocos Sur and Tubo, Abra; PG Makati operating in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur and Bakun, Benguet; PG Alabang – Ortigas operating in Mankayan and Tadian, Mt. Province and PG Sandino operating in Southern Ilocos Sur.
Last Saturday, the soldiers from the army's 50th Infantry Battalion encountered the alleged group of KLG Sandino in Barangay Arangin, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur that resulted to the killing of three rebels including an amazon and recovery of 5 high-powered firearms with assorted rounds of ammunitions.
"A smallest unit of a communist terrorist is compose of 10 to 20 armed elements and based on our intelligence report there is more strength on firearms than the total strength of the rebels in which this is to show that the rebels are now hard up in recruiting civilians," De Vesa said.
"We had also received information that in the province of Ilocos Sur, there's a limited resident who joined the communist movement," he added.
According to De Vesa, the reported activities of the NPA rebels at present are conducting extortion and foraging activities in the southern towns of Ilocos Sur.
He said that they are presently validating the possible involvement of the NPA rebels in the five series of killings in Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur last month in which the rebels has a great possibility to conduct the said killings to sow terror to the local folks to re- gain their stronghold in the area.
"There's also a great possibilitities that the rebels will be conducting tactical offensives on the different detachments of Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) and undermanned town's police stations in Ilocos Sur and nearby provinces," he warned.
"The communist rebels might also be conducting sabotage to communication's installation like cell sites and telephone lines," he added.
To anticipate this possible tactical offensives to be conducted by the rebels, De Vesa said that his troops are continuously conducting massive anti- insurgency operations in their areas of responsibility. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]