THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has neutralized up to 40 members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in the Visayas region in just one month.

Of that number, 17 of them were killed during the encounter, while 23 surrendered to the authorities.

The military also seized 54 weapons, of which 38 were recovered after the gunfight, seven were found from the house of the rebels and nine were surrendered.

The most recent armed encounter occurred on May 28, 2023 in Barangay Mabini, Catarman town, northern Samar between the 43rd Infantry Battalion and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army Sub-Regional Guerilla Unit (SRGU) under the Sub-Regional Committee Emporium of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, which resulted in the deaths of four NPA rebels and the confiscation of two M16 rifles and two .45 pistols.

Army Lieutenant General Benedict Arevalo, head of the AFP Visayas Command, attributed their achievement to their never-ending campaign and dedication in their quest to put an end to the local communist armed conflict in the Visayas region.

“Amidst performing our mandate on HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response), still, they were able to address the threat of the CPP-NPA. This is a clear manifestation of how motivated our troops are in ensuring the safety and security of our people in this part of the country," Arevalo said.

Arevalo added that up to 564 members and supporters of Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) have reportedly renounced their support and promised to cooperate with the government.

Of the number, 63 are members of the Basic Party Organ (BOP), 157 are members of Yunit Militia and 342 are part of the mass organization.

The simultaneous departure of the vast majority of them is the result of the breakdown of some political-military organizations established by terrorist groups in Samar and Northern Samar, as well as the weakening of their support system.

“The CPP-NPA in the Visayas region has been substantially weakened having incurred devastating losses in their manpower and armed capability, as well as the collapse of their support system from the community. Hence, our focused military operations will go on. There will be no safe place for these terrorists to hide nor a haven for them to rest. We will hunt them down until justice is served for all the atrocities and sufferings that they’ve caused to our country and our people,” Arevalo stressed.

He urged active members of the NPA Visayas Region to go home, surrender, and live in peace with their families as the soldiers will not stop going after them. (AYB, TPT)