By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (NPA) in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region is now in distress, declared Col. Andres Centino, commanding officer of the Army’s 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade based in Awa New Leyte, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Wednesday.
The series of surrender of former CPP-NPA members had decimated the numbers of their guerilla fighters while their mass-base supporters and sympathizers who also went back to the folds of the law have left various front committees in deep trouble, claimed further the 401st Brigade commander.
Col. Centino made this pronouncement based on “recovered documents”, with high intelligence value, in recent gunbattles with the NPAs, armed wing of the CPP.
According to the 401st Brigade commander, the utmost concern of the NPA’s is how their former-comrades-in-arms who had already turned themselves into government will return to their movement.
Based on the captured documents, the ground Army commander also disclosed that rebels here had been looking for a way on how to “plug the hole in order to stop the bleeding”.
Col. Centino said the triumphs and gains of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in this region were attributed to the intensified security operations together with the Community Support Program (CSP) conducted hand in hand with the Army’s 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal.
Personnel of Community Support Teams (CSTs) from various Army battalions deployed in the hinterland villages, particularly insurgency-affected areas, had noticed “swelling on possible surrenders” based on latest reports gathered, also claimed the 401st Brigade commander.
In a statement, the ground Army commander added that there was already a great deal of dismay being felt among the ranks of rebel fighters owing to a number of factors including lack of sustainment of logistical support from ammunitions and even food supplies apart from mounting number of casualties during clashes with the military.
He added that the recent surrender and arrest of top CPP-NPA officials in the region and the current peace and development program implemented by the different line agencies of the government, particularly field units of the 401st Brigade and 402nd Brigade and all operation control (Opcon) units contributed to the continuous surrender of the CPP-NPA members.