The New People’s Army is marking its 42nd founding anniversary today with confusion and demoralization among its rank-and-file members in Negros, Col. Jonas Sumagaysay, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday.
Sumagaysay said this is because their “imported leaders” from other Visayas islands, are now leading the protracted war, and demanding impossible tasks from them.
Military records show that six top ranking rebel leaders in Negros island have been accounted for by state security forces since last year, although majority of them were freed from jail, after each posted more than P200,000 in bail.
While some rejoined their comrades in the mountains, those who died in gunbattles, including Ka Pao, in southern Negros, were replaced by rebel cadres from other Visayas regions, military records also show.
Sumagaysay said that based on their intelligence reports, some senior and battle-tested Negrense rebel leaders were dismayed by the importation from other areas of rebel commanders who are not familiar with the terrain in Negros island.
As a result, the rebel forces in Negros are now in disarray and continue to weaken, he claimed.
On the contrary, the revolutionary underground organizations calling themselves as Kabataang Makabayan and the Pambansang Katipunan ng Magsasaka-Negros, claimed in a joint statement, that the number of NPA is growing, citing the number of youth and students who have joined the Red Army, without the promise of wages and benefits.
The peasants joining the NPA in big numbers show that the principles and intentions of the NPA for the people is correct, KM and PKM-Negros said in the statement.
They also announced that the armed struggle will further intensify, in answer to what they claim is the ever-worsening crisis in the country.
Military and police forces in Negros have been put on alert for possible rebel attacks, during the NPA founding anniversary today.
Sumagaysay said he has already alerted Army field units to brace themselves against ambushes and landmine attacks by the NPA.
Isolated and less fortified military and police outposts are the usual targets of the NPA, he said.
Sumagaysay said the rebel attacks are aimed at projecting strength because, in reality, they are no longer a threat to national security, but only to development.
From its peak of more than 5,000 members in the late 1980s the NPA is now at an all-time low, with only about 300 members as of the end of 2010 in Negros, he said.
Maj. John Andrada, 3rd Civil Military Operations Battalion commander, said the founding anniversary of the NPA is “another year of peace and progress taken away from the peace-loving Filipino people”.
“Gone are the days that when CPP-NPA called themselves fighters of ideology. They simply exist to instill fear on the populace so they can extort the hard earned fruits of the common people who, they say they are fighting for, yet they leave them in poverty”, Andrada said.
He called on Western Visayas residents to condemn the mere existence of the criminal CPP-NPA-NDF, saying their lies, deceptions, and presence are the real obstacles to peace and progress.*GPB