Nolcom chief sees NPA downfall in Northern, Central Luzon
By Zorayda Tecson / Philippine News Agency
Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., Northern Luzon Command chief (Photo courtesy of 2nd Infantry Jungle Fighter Division)
CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac – The Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) on Sunday said the end is in sight for communist insurgency in Northern and Central Luzon following the continuous surrender of rebels.
For the first five days of this month alone, seven members of the New People’s Army (NPA) returned to the fold of the law and yielded eight firearms.
There were also 595 former rebels who surrendered from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31 this year and turned over 235 firearms.
“It’s only a matter of time before the NPA will be totally eradicated in this part of the country,” Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., Nolcom commander, said in a statement.
Burgos cited the growing support of communities in the government’s fight against communist terrorists as a contributing factor in the continuous surrender.
Another key element is the implementation of several community development projects under the Barangay Development Program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 70 in December 2018, creating the NTF-ELCAC that employs a whole-of-nation approach to end communism and institute peace-building initiatives.
“The growing support of the communities to the government’s fight against the communist terrorist is a big factor that significantly contributed to our efforts in ending the local communist armed conflict in Northern and Central Luzon. They help us send our message of hope while encouraging their families, friends, and loved ones who have been deceived by the terrorist group to lay down their arms and abandon their armed struggle,” he said.
Burgos renewed his call to the remnants of the communist terrorists and their supporters to give up armed struggle and avail of the various programs of the government that could help them start new and peaceful lives with their loved ones.
“The government has heard your pleas and has implemented several programs to address your concerns. Now is the time for you to heed the call of the government. Lay down your arms and abandon your armed struggle. Think of your families, think of their future. Christmas is fast approaching, they will be happier and more fulfilled this season of joy with you by their side,” he added.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front was also formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council in June, citing it the core and most consolidated group that provides support to the armed and organizational expansion of the CPP-NPA. (PNA)