The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday called on members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to surrender or be killed.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, head of the AFP public affairs office, said the military is giving two options for members of the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – surrender and be reunited with their family by enrolling in the Comprehensive Local Integration Program or suffer the fate of their cohorts who died.
Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte officially terminated the peace negotiations with the communists by signing Proclamation 360.
The military immediately vowed to go “all out” against NPA members attacking civilians and government forces in the countryside.
In September, Duterte threatened to crush the communist movement but CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison downplayed the warning.
“[Duterte] cannot ground the Left to dust. The CPP is not the PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) of [leader Dipa Nusantra Aidit], compeletely exposed to enemy intelligence agencies in the course of electoral politics,” Sison said in an interview, the transcript of which was posted on his Facebook account.
“The advantage of the CPP is that more than 90 percent of its cadres and members are not known to the enemy. Just to kill one real communist, the enemy has to kill 100 to 1,000 non-communists,” he added.
Arevalo said the recent series of attacks perpetrated by the NPA in the provinces was expected because of the cancellation of the peace talks.
“Those (attacks) were meant to make up for the tactical defeats they have experienced in view of the intensified focused military operations,” he said in a statement.
He cited last week’s encounter in Nasugbu, Batangas between government security forces and communist fighters that resulted in the killing of 15 NPA rebels, including a former biochemistry student from the University of the Philippines, and the wounding of one rebel and five soldiers.
Sison called on independent human rights organizations and the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the incident, claiming those killed were civilians.
Arevalo said as of November this year, at least 119 NPA members have been neutralized while a total of 62 firearms were seized from the rebels.
On Sunday, suspected NPA rebels attacked a municipal police station in Binuangan, Misamis Oriental, leaving four policemen injured.
Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said the military is bracing for more attacks.
“Again, the CPP-NPA-NDF will attract local and foreign organizations to shield their leadership from being captured by security forces,” Villanueva said.
“With this prevailing situation, government forces are also monitoring all the actions of the possible conspirators who will provide aide or support to this terrorist organization,” he added.