Negros Army ordered to step up operation against NPA rebels

BACOLOD CITY - A top military official in the Visayas has directed the Army in Negros island to step up their operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) to prevent them from doing more atrocities.

Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of Army 3rd Infantry Division (ID) and acting commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Visayas Command, issued the directive following a spate of killings in the island last month by NPA rebels.

Arevalo said he has directed Col. Orlando Edralin, newly-designated commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), to do the task.

The NPA owned up to five incidents of killing in the island, accusing the victims as an intelligence asset of the government.

These included shooting incidents in Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental on Jan. 14, and in Negros Occidental-Moises Padilla on Jan. 19, La Castellana town on Jan. 23, and Ilog town on Jan. 28.

The latest incident was the killing of a welder in Brgy. Macagahay in Moises Padilla town on Jan. 30.

Maj. Jovito Bose, Moises Padilla police chief, said the town is classified as a high risk municipality, but he clarified that only Barangays Quintin Remo and Macagahay are affected by insurgency.

Bose said the perpetrators behind the two shooting incidents in his area of jurisdiction were believed to be members of the Special Partisan Unit (Sparu) of the NPA.

Arevalo said he already told battalion commanders to check these atrocities.

“There’s no reason not to resolve this. We want to see the results of their operations in the coming period,” he added.

Arevalo said there are nine NPA rebel fronts in the Visayas, and most of these groups were either dismantled or have weakened.

Arevalo clarified that although the NPA rebels have ‘weakened,’ it does not mean that the rebels cannot do harm anymore to soldiers and the people.

Arevalo assured that appropriate cases will be filed against the perpetrators of these atrocities.