(The Philippine Star) | Updated August 18, 2014 - 12:00am
Published in The Philippine Star
BUTUAN CITY, Philippines - The communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Agusan del Sur is disintegrating following several setbacks in the rebel movement, officials of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (ID) said on Saturday.
In a statement, Maj. Christian Uy, spokesman for the 4th ID, said the NPA rebels are in desperate need of logistics following the arrest last March 22 in Cebu of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma, the party’s secretary-general.
Uy said Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, chief of the 4th ID, advised local businessmen and operators of mining and logging firms in the Caraga region to reject the demands of the rebels who are trying to obtain logistics, firearms and food in order to survive.
Uy said the NPA’s support system was crippled after the arrest of the Tiamzons.
Security forces arrested the Tiamzon couple and five others in Barangay Zaragosa in Aloguinsan, Cebu.
Uy said Visaya ordered all Army units to continue their counterinsurgency operations to prevent the rebels from harassing and shaking down traders and residents.
It is very obvious that NPA leaders in my area are now frustrated and having a hard time convincing their comrades that they are going to win this war,” Visaya said.
He urged the rebels “to lay down your arms and leave your selfish commanders behind in the mountains and we will bring you hope in the mainstream together with your family.”
Visaya vowed the government would make life better for those who surrender, noting their life in the underground has become “miserable.”
The Army said a recent setback of the NPA in the region was a failed attack on a compound of tribal leader Datu Calpit in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on July 15.
Uy said responding Army troops killed 11 rebels including Joseph Tajora Cainong, the alleged leader of the NPA Guerrilla Front 8 in Agusan del Sur. Nine firearms were recovered after the firefight.
NPA leader “Ka Jared” told The STAR in a telephone interview yesterday that the Army officers were just daydreaming when they claimed that the local NPA is disintegrating.
Jared, who led the recent release of four Surigao policemen in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, claimed the people in the region are frustrated with the government for failing to provide them basic services such as farm-to-market roads and classrooms.