The military yesterday dismissed as an “empty threat” claims of expansion by the New People’s Army in Negros Island.
Several days after the ceasefire ended Jan. 3, three confessed NPA members surrendered to the 79th Infantry Battalion in Negros Oriental, regional Army spokesman Capt. Mark Andrew Posadas said.
Posadas added that the presence of a rebel camp in Brgy. Imelda, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, that was hastily abandoned by its occupants, and the discovery of a harboring area of NPA members in Brgy. Minapasok, Calatrava, Negros Occidental, was reported to them by the disgruntled “masa” of the rebel movement.
Tired of fighting against the government, hardships in the mountains, and feeling constantly under threat of capture by government troopers and unfulfilled promises of their leaders, have prompted them to surrender, Posadas also said, citing the testimonies of Joan Gajeloma, 18, Ronel de los Santos, 25, and Langie Desmoparan, all members of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Sentral Bisayas in southwest Negros.
Soldiers of the 11th Infantry Battalion also seized an abandoned NPA camp that can accommodate about 60 persons, in the hinterlands of Guihulngan.
Troopers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion also overran a temporary rebel encampment in Brgy. Minapasok, Calatrava, on Jan. 10. The fleeing rebels left behind 24 jungle hammocks, personal belongings and assorted foodstuff, after more than 30 minutes of gunbattle with soldiers.
“This is a clear sign that they (NPA) have a loose hold on those they manage to deceive into joining their movement,” Posadas said, adding “The Army is more than willing to facilitate the surrender of those who want to abandon the armed struggle, and we will not hesitate the enforce the rule of law on those who continue to defy it.”*GPB
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