The severe reduction in manpower and armed capability of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) significantly contributed to the clearing of 343 insurgency-infested communities in the Visayas, an Army official said on Saturday, December 30.
Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Visayas Command, said that 2023 saw a devastating year for the CPP-NPA in the Visayas as they suffered from irrecoverable damage inflicted by government forces.
Arevalo said 162 government-initiated armed encounters transpired throughout the year in the Visayas, with 80 of them in the Eastern Visayas and 82 in Central and Western Visayas.
The encounters led to the neutralization of 607 NPA terrorists, 84 of whom died during encounters, 25 apprehended, and 498 surrendered.
The number of rebels neutralized included 10 high-value NPA members, couple and CCP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, and 20 alleged finance officers.
They are apart from the 490 mass supporters who denounced their support from the terrorist rebel group and pledged their allegiance to the government.
Dismantled guerilla fronts
Viscom also reported the cooptation of 20 NPA-affected mass organizations and the dismantling of 17 NPA-affected sectoral front organizations, paving the way for the dismantling of five guerilla fronts in 2023, as affirmed by the National Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (NJPSCC).
The guerilla fronts include Central Negros 1 of the NPAs Komiteng Rehiyon Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor Front Committee 1 and Front Committee 2 of Sub-Regional Committee Emporium; and Front 3 and Front 15 of Sub-Regional Committee Arctic.
“This significant progress in our fight against the CPP-NPA is not only an accomplishment of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) but also the accomplishment of all the peace-loving people in the Visayas region. It is through their active support and collaboration that led us to this milestone. Our people’s longing for peace remains our driving force and motivation in performing our mandate to the highest level of efficacy,” Arevalo said in a statement. (PNA)