By Francis Wakefield
New People’s Army (NPA) members are on the run after more communities and local government units (LGUs) are now declaring them “persona non grata”, denying them of space to hide and maneuver from the long arm of the law and pursuing troops.
Thus, was declared by the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom) as it noted that, from January 1 to March 21, troops have already figured in a total of 59 armed encounters all-over Eastern Mindanao.
These resulted in the death of 16 NPA terrorists and led to the capture of 22 others.
This further resulted in the reduction of their armed capability with the capture and surrender of firearms totaling to 181 and 63 International Humanitarian Law-banned landmines.
Last March 21, troops from the 30th Infantry Battalion encountered insurgents in Upper Sangay, Barangay Anomar, Surigao City, Surigao Del Norte.
The incident resulted in the death of an NPA member, the capture of an M16 rifle, and recovery of a landmine.
On the same day, another encounter transpired in the outskirts of Sitio Bulak, Barangay Lower Olave, Buenavista, Agusan Del Norte between the troops under Lt. Col. Francisco Molina of the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23rd IB) and an undetermined number of leftist terrorists.
No casualty was reported during the skirmish.
In Davao City, troops from Third Infantry Battalion (IB) encountered an undetermined number of NPAs along the periphery of Barangay Tambobong, Baguio District on March 22.
This came after the Ovu-Manuvu tribe in the said darangay declared the NPAs “persona non grata” in their ancestral domain on February 25,
For the first quarter of 2019, 12 resolutions from barangays, municipalities, provinces, and tribal councils have already been passed, declaring the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA “persona non grata” in their respective communities, while another three resolutions were passed late December 2018.
The Province of Davao Oriental also prohibited the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) and declared its officials and members undesirable in the whole province, after the Provincial Peace and Order Council passed a resolution on February 19.
On February 15, villages in Surigao del Norte, particularly Camam-onan and Gigaquit, both villages that are known to be NPA havens, banned the CPP-NPA-NDF when they declared them as “persona non grata” on February 15.
Compostela Valley Province made the same declaration last January 25.
So did the Ovu-Manuvo tribe in Kinarum, Magpet and Datu Ladayon, Arakan both of North Cotabato last December 19, 2018, while 21 barangays in Malaybalay, Bukidnon and the whole Municipality of Sibagat, Agusan Sur declared the insurgent group undersirable on October 23, 2018 and December 21, 2018, respectively.