MANILA, Philippines — With its active guerrilla fronts dismantled, the New People’s Army (NPA) is “strategically defeated” and its remaining armed members across the country are now on the run, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“The underground movement is no longer capable of implementing programs that will enable it to recruit new members, generate resources and establish a united front to overthrow the government,” AFP spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar told The STAR yesterday.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), whose political arm is the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Aguilar said the development should convince remaining NPA guerrillas to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law.
The AFP earlier announced the elimination of active NPA guerrilla fronts in the country as a result of the military’s “focused military operations.”
“As of December, there are no more active CTG guerrilla fronts. The continued focused military operations have resulted in the neutralization of 67 high-value individuals who belong to communist and local terrorist groups,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad said.
He said the military dismantled eight NPA guerrilla fronts last year and weakened 14 others.
Military operations, he ad ded, led to the neutralization of 1,399 members of communist and local terrorist groups as well as to the seizure and recovery of 1,751 firearms.
“Yes, they are weak, scattered and on the run. Indeed, it’s time for the CPP-NPA-NDF to end armed struggle as exp ressed in the Joint Oslo Communiqué,” Aguilar maintained, referring to a joint statement signed in the Norwegian capital by the Philippine government and the NDF wherein the two parties agree on a “principled and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict” by addressing its roots.
“To save lives, especially the hungry and exhausted NPA members, it should have the moral courage to do it,” Aguilar added.