BUTUAN CITY—The communist New People’s Army now has more than 10,000 armed combatants in 71 provinces and 800 municipalities, according to the spokesman of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao.
Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, made the statement on Sunday to mark the NPA’s 46th anniversary.
He said the NPA was born on March 29, 1969, with only one guerrilla front in Tarlac. But now the group had 110 guerrilla fronts in the whole country.
“These do not include the hundreds of thousands of Militia men and women or Milisyang Bayan and other support civilian groups,” Madlos said.
“Millions of mass and civilian supporters and sympathizers support secretly while some openly support the cause to address massive injustices and the massive human rights violations all over the country.”
Madlos made his statement even as the left-leaning Alyansang Makabayan said President Benigno Aquino III’s strategy against the NPA was a stotal failure while he was moving heaven and earth to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Group secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said Aquino was not serious about foreign a peace agreement with the NPA, which he said continued to wage war against the government.
“Aquino’s peace rhetoric is selective and in the service of a narrow political agenda,” Reyes said.
Madlos claimed that the NPA now had 47 guerrilla fronts in Mindanao alone compared with only one in 1971.
“These NPA guerrilla fronts are present in more than 200 cities and municipalities, 19 provinces and 2,300 barangays in Mindanao alone and growing” Madlos said.
He said the NPA launched 400 tactical offensives in Mindanao in 2014 compared with 250 in 2010, 530 in 2011 and more than 400 in 2011 and 2012.
He said NPA rebels captured 11 prisoners of war last year but all were treated fairly and humanely.
“They were all fairly and humanely treated and all their rights were observed, and they were all eventually released,” Madlos said.
Ka Ariel Montero, spokesman of the North-Eastern Mindanao Regional Command, claimed that in the Caraga Region alone the NPA rebels were able to make nine tactical offensives in 2014, confiscating 27 high-powered firearms and 50 pieces of hand guns and killing 190 reactionary forces and wounding 120 soldiers and militias.
“Because of our victories in the Caraga Region, the AFP has deployed seven army battalions in the entire Caraga Region, two combat battalions of the PNP and deployed more than 90 [militias],” Montero said. With Florante S. Solmerin
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