ZAMBOANGA CITY: New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have vowed to intensify its offensives in the Philippines following the capture of two top leaders of the communist group in Cebu province.
Security forces captured Benito Tiamzon, the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and his wife Wilma Austria, who is the current CPP secretary-general, after long surveillance operations involving elite teams of policemen and soldiers.
“The capture of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria only emboldens the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao to further intensify the people’s war in the region. The US-Aquino regime is daydreaming when it says the arrest spells the demise of the revolutionary movement. The NPA-SMR is ever resolute to advance the guerrilla war to a higher stage because the roots of armed conflict are firmly embedded in a region heavily militarized by the fascist AFP troops,” a rebel spokesman in Mindanao, Rigoberto Sanchez, said.
Sanchez said instead of dismantling pork barrel and corruption and providing genuine relief for disaster victims, the government has embarked on a relentless aggressive war in the countryside.
“Under its counterrevolutionary policy Oplan Bayanihan, it deployed its vast resources and manpower to militarize the peasant villages and open it for further imperialist plunders,” Sanchez said.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has protested the arrest of the two rebel leader, saying they are consultants to the peace talks with the Aquino government and that both are covered with immunity from arrest. Five other people who were with the couple were also arrested.
NDFP spokesman Jorge Madlos said in spite of the capture of the two leaders, the rebel group’s “democratic revolution” will advance.
“The arrest of Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria Tiamzon and five others, will not deter the People’s Democratic Revolution from continuing to advance nor will it dampen the resolve of the entire revolutionary forces to carry forward the interests of the people and the Revolution. Beyond having to frustrate the objectives of the brutal Oplan Bayanihan in its first three years, the Revolutionary movement is more than ever intent on frustrating the last three years of its implementation, because of the people’s continuing struggle against exploitation and oppression in the midst of an ever worsening crisis gripping the entire country and the world,” he said.
He added that the capture of the Tiamzons will lead to more intensified operations against government and military and police targets across the country.
Peace talks between the NDFP and the Aquino government stalled following demands by rebels to free all political prisoners in the country, among others.