AFP: Over 2,000 NPA rebels active in Caraga, Davao
by Mario J. Mallari
Published in Tribune.net
Around 45 percent of active New People’s Army (NPA) rebels are operating in Caraga and Davao regions, a military commander said yesterday.
Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), said that about 2,100 NPA fighters or about 45 percent of the total estimated strength of the communist armed group throughout the country are within Eastmincom areas.
Baladad particularly cited the Davao and Caraga regions as the areas where high NPA presence is monitored.
The military noted that the NPA fighters have resorted to extortion activities, through intimidation and terrorist activities, to fund their existence.
Baladad said that the communist group burned about P300 million worth of equipment during the first nine months of 2014, a huge 10-fold increase from last year’s P30 million.
On NPA extortion activities, Baladad estimated that about P30 million was exacted from business establishments.
“It’s related to extortion…they are embarking on extortion campaign. The peace talks is stalled so they have to maintain their forces…they have to embark on a campaign, they have resorted to money-making activities,” Baladad said.