Friday, March 3, 2017

51 NPAs Surrendered, 17 Nabbed Since AFP All-Out War

From the Website of AFP

51 NPAs Surrendered, 17 Nabbed Since AFP All-Out War

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – "Barely three weeks since the Government waged an 'All-Out War' against terrorist New People’s Army (NPA), 51 of their members surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)", reports AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo said Sunday, February 26.

"And the exodus is expected to continue with numerous others sending their surrender fillers to the AFP.

"While we are preparing for the eventual laying down of arms by these NPA members, their surrenders are without conditions apart from the program afforded by Government to rebel returnees.

“On February 23 alone, the AFP received  ten surrenderer from the NPA.

Two more rebels surrendered in 24 February 2017--Allan Mating, 19 years old, surrendered to the 25th Infantry Battalion in Compostela Valley while Arjay Bangue surrendered with his M16 rifle to the 73rd Infantry Battalion in Davao Occidental,” Colonel Arevalo reports.

Launched 36 small unit operations

Since February 4, the AFP has already conducted 36 small unit operations against the NPA –averaging two encounters a day. During the same period, the AFP was able to apprehend 17 NPA members.

Most recent of the arrests was the capture of top NPA leader Ernesto Samarita in Nasugbu, Batangas on February 21. His group was responsible for the numerous atrocities and large scale extortions in Pico de Loro, Batangas.

The AFP has also recovered a total of 37 High-Powered and Low-Powered firearms from the NPAs since day one.

Meanwhile, the body count on the rebels’ side is now at 14 following the latest encounter on Friday. Two NPA members were killed in the operation launched by elements of the Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion in Maayon, Capiz. The troops also recovered two shotguns and two hand grenades from the NPAs.

Government casualties

“On the Government’s side, the AFP has already recorded 37 casualties. Of which, seven were killed-in-action while 30 were wounded in operations launched against the NPAs,” Colonel Arevalo disclosed.

The most recent operations were reported in Davao Oriental and Agusan Del Sur in February 24. A Private from the operating troops of the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion was wounded after an encounter with two NPA members in Brgy. Campawan, Baganga, Davao Oriental. Two other personnel, a Sergeant and a Private First Class were wounded in a firefight against 10 NPA rebels in Brgy. Limot, Viruela, Agusan Del Sur.

The AFP is also on track with regard to its rescue operations aimed at freeing the NPA’s captives. At present, they are holding six individuals against their will; soldiers Pfc Erwin Salan, Sgt Solaiman Calocop, and Pfc Samuel Garay; CAFGU member Rene Doller; and two police personnel.

Open to peace talks

In spite of the ongoing operations against the NPA, the AFP remains open to the possibility of resuming the peace negotiations.

“More than anyone, it is our soldiers who want peace. This is why the AFP hopes the NPA will heed our Government’s call and comply with the conditions that shall bring the situation conducive to peace negotiations and towards permanently ending the hostilities that mar this more than 4 decades of insurgency.” Col Arevalo said.

“However, until the NPA agrees to the government’s conditions, the AFP will continue with our operations to stop their atrocities that impair the lives of our people in the communities.

"We will pursue the momentum in the implementation of the all-out war through deliberate, surgical, focused, and well-planned combat, intelligence and civil-military operations against the NPA.

"And with the recent spate of surrenders, arrests, and neutralization of NPA members in only a matter of around 21 days, we see more of them returning to he folds of government.

"Not only because of battle fatigue, stress, and hunger after years of protracted struggle, but more so because of the realization about the inutility of their fight that has now resorted to banditry and oppression", Colonel Arevalo concluded.

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