Top NPA commander in Northeastern Mindanao falls
By Alexander Lopez / Philippine News Agency
BUTUAN CITY – A top commander of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested by joint military and police forces in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, the Army in Northern Mindanao said Monday.
In a statement, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) identified the arrested NPA leader as Gelan Ybanez alias Weng, the commander of the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda 16B of the NPA Guerrilla Front 16 under the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.
Ybanez fell to the operating units of the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion under the 901st Infantry Brigade, and the Police Regional Office in Caraga (PRO-13), and Bayugan police on Sunday evening in Barangay Poblacion, Bayugan City.
The apprehending officers also confiscated from Ybanez a .45-caliber pistol and a fragmentation grenade.
The suspect has a standing arrest warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 34 in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte for violation of Sec. 4 (k) 1 of Republic Act 9208 as amended by 10364, or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.
"The arrest of Alias Weng is only the beginning of the AFP-PNP's (Armed Forces of the Philippines – Philippine National Police) pivot, targeting the CNT (Communist NPA Terrorist) leaders and dismantling the CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) in CARAGA region. We shall utilize our full might and all available resources to end the CTG's atrocities and abuses against our people,” said Maj Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., the 4ID commander.
The armed struggle being espoused by the NPA, he added, is not the solution to the problems of the country.
“Our people need peace and development programs more than ever. Give them peace,” Brawner said.
He also urged the remaining NPA leaders in Caraga to lay down their arms and avoid being arrested or killed in encounters.
“The Army will be relentless in tracking and hunting them down,” Brawner said, adding that the newly-arrested NPA commander was already handed over to PRO-13 for proper disposition.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front, meanwhile, has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)