AFP chief: NPA will soon be bandits-A A +A
Sunday, March 30, 2014
THE New People's Army (NPA) will soon turn into a bandit group after the arrest of its top leaders and the recent signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a military official said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista said the NPA, the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), can be considered as “irrelevant” in less than five years.
The NPA is down to about 4,000 guerrillas from more than 26,000 in the late 1980s, according to government estimates.
"Ang dami nang nasawi, ang daming buhay ng kabataan ang nasira. Ilan pang buhay ng kabataan ang sisirain ninyo? Mas mahalagang kailangan harapin natin ang mas mabibigat na problema ng ating bansa kagaya ng mga kalamidad," Bautista said in an interview on Friday.
The government’s anti-insurgency campaign gathered steam in recent days following the arrest of top NPA leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon on March 22 in Cebu for murder charges, and Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late CPP-NPA spokesman Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal.
Bautista also cited the surrender of some NPA members as an indication that the communist movement is weakening.
He said more than 100 communist rebels returned to the government since last year and yielded several firearms, explosives and ammunition.
But for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political unit of the communists, the government and the AFP are hallucinating if they believe that the Tiamzons’ arrest will cause the armed struggle to dissipate.
“It is also hilarious for them to claim that the arrests will cause the revolutionary movement to become rudderless and too disorganized to sustain itself and pursue its objectives,” the NDFP said on March 24, claiming the CPP has a system of “orderly succession in place.”
CPP is comprised of over 150,000 dedicated cadres, with 15 regional committees, scores of sub-regional leading committees, more than 110 front committees and thousands of sections and branch committees that lead revolutionary work at various areas and levels, the NDFP said. (Third Anne Peralta/Sunnex)