AT least 51 communist rebels have surrendered to authorities while 14 others were killed and 17 were captured since the government launched an all-out war against the New People’s Army (NPA), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced on Sunday.
“And the exodus is expected to continue with numerous others sending their surrender fillers to the AFP,” said Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office.
According to Arevalo, the AFP has conducted 36 small-unit operations against the NPA since February 4, or an average of two encounters a day.
During the same period, the AFP was able to apprehend 17 NPA members, he said.
Most recent of the arrests was the capture of NPA leader Ernesto Samarita in Nasugbu, Batangas whose group was tagged as allegedly responsible for the numerous atrocities and large-scale extortions at Pico de Loro in Batangas, Arevalo said.
The AFP has also recovered a total of 37 high-powered and low-powered firearms from the rebels.
The military has recorded 14 NPA deaths, including the latest encounter on Friday in Maayon, Capiz.
“On the Government’s side, the AFP has already recorded 37 casualties, of which seven were killed in action while 30 were wounded in operations launched against the NPAs,” said the AFP official.
The most recent operations were reported in Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur over the weekend. A soldier from the operating troops of the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion was wounded after an encounter with two NPA members at Barangay Campawan in Baganga, Davao Oriental. Two other personnel were wounded in a firefight against 10 rebels at Barangay Limot in Viruela, Agusan del Sur.
“The AFP is also on track with regard to its rescue operations aimed at freeing the NPA’s captives. At present, they are holding six individuals against their will: Pfc. Erwin Salan, Sgt. Solaiman Calocop and Pfc. Samuel Garay; [civilian auxiliary]member Rene Doller; and two police personnel,” Arevalo said.