Union leaders in Laguna surrender after admitting membership in NPA

Published May 4, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Danny Estacio

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna – Sixteen labor union leaders surrendered to the military and police after admitting that they were members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

According to 202nd Brigade Commander Col. Alex Rillera, the surrenderers were leaders of the labor union at the Coca-Cola plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, who recruited to the join the NPA to allegedly destabilize the industrial sector in what the rebels considered as white area operations.

Rillera said that “four of them were already full-time Communist party members, while the rest were still ‘kandidatong kasapi’ which means they were just a few courses away from full time membership”.

He added that four of the surrenders turned over four firearms, and admitted to have already experienced joining the NPAs in the mountains, and participating in the terrorist group’s operations.

“This surrender supports the AFP and the PNP’s earlier assessment that the NPA terrorists are infiltrating the industrial areas through the labor unions to force the companies to shut their operations down so that innocent employees will be agitated to go against the government”, Rillera said.

Combined elements of police officers and soldiers took the lead in the local peace negotiations which was held under the auspices of the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, commander of the Second Infantry Division, lauded the “soldiers, policemen and government officials who were involved in the localized peace engagement for their commitment and dedication to their duties while fighting in two fronts” referring to communist insurgency and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also commended the labor leaders’ act of surrender and admission of NPA membership calling it “the best sacrifice that they could do for the country’s millions of members of the labor force as we commemorate this year’s Labor Day since it will lead to them being aware of the deception and manipulation which the underground movement is doing upon their ranks.”

He added that the surrender of labor organizers in this mass exodus of NPA terrorists from the underground movement was a decisive blow since aside from losing leaders, their surrender meant fewer cadres who will oversee their supply line from the urban centers to the hinterlands.

Burgos also urged the few remaining NPA terrorists to “put down your arms, give up your armed struggle and return to mainstream society while you still can because despite this contagion, we are mustering all our strength and focusing our sights to the liberation of Southern Tagalog from the clutches of communist terrorism by crushing the few remaining NPAs in this part of the country.”

Military’s intelligence assessments indicate that the NPA’s mass base support in this part of the country is now fast-eroding and losing traction due to demoralization from massive intelligence-driven combat operations which is complemented by unrelenting push for localized peace talks that resulted to unprecedented number of surrenders.

Since the implementation of E-CLIP in Southern Tagalog, 509 former rebels already surrendered 108 firearms to government forces.

A considerable portion of this surrenders were presented during the NPA’s 50th anniversary last year as well as during their 51st anniversary last March 29.

As of this report, CALABARZON region and MIMARO provinces have already distributed a total of Php 10.478 million-worth of financial assistance to former rebels.