Surrender of 2K allies cripples NPA in Northern Samar
By Sarwell Meniano / Philippine News Agency
TACLOBAN CITY – The surrender of over 2,000 members and supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Northern Samar in the past three months has further weakened the communist terrorist group in Samar Island, a military official said on Friday.
These NPA fighters and staunch allies are from the nine towns in Northern Samar province and nearby Calbayog City in Samar.
They are identified as residents of 79 villages tagged as influenced by the NPA, said Philippine Army 43rd Infantry Battalion spokesperson 1st Lt. Benigno Lopez.
“From July to Sept. 21, 2021, a total of 2,241 Politico-Military members organized by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA (surrendered). This is the result of 'whole-of-nation approach' (by the National Task Force) to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” Lopez said in an interview.
Surrenderers include 214 Batakang Organisasyon ng Pampartido, 436 Yunit Milisya members, 160 underground mass organization members, and 1,431 mass supporters, which are all under the Politico-Military group.
About 30 of them have carried firearms and had armed encounters with government forces, according to Lopez.
They are from the towns of San Roque, Pambujan, Bobon, Lavezares, Victoria, San Isidro, Lope de Vega and Catarman in Northern Samar; and Calbayog City in Samar.
Several communities are listed as places of operations of the retooled Community Support Program (CSP) designed to bring peace and development in conflict-affected areas.
CSP is the Army's people-centered program to bring the government closer to the people through an immediate delivery of basic services especially to grassroots communities.
“This is a big blow to the NPA because they are their mass supporters. They brought supplies to NPA, extorted money for rebels, and organized CPP-NPA activities. Because of these supporters, the NPA were strong in Northern Samar,” Lopez told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“Once the process is completed, the clearing of villages in the towns in Northern Samar and Samar that were formerly affected by the CPP-NPA is a resounding victory for the people here. Without the support of their former mass bases, the communist NPA terrorists are now weak,” he added.
Northern Samar is considered an NPA lair in Eastern Visayas due to its poor road network, thick forests, high poverty incidence, and low level of education among residents.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)