MILITARY ON TIGHT WATCH AS NPA MARKS 50TH ANNIV
MANILA -- The military will keep a tight watch on the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) as it celebrates its 50th founding anniversary on December 26.
"We will closely monitor them and those who will be extending support and sympathies and we will expose them so the Filipinos will have an informed decision when the moment of choosing comes," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said Monday.
Detoyato stressed that it will be a hollow celebration as the rebels will be observing 50 years of deceit, atrocities and lies.
As this develops, the AFP official said the number of regular NPA members and their supporters, who have surrendered to government forces from Jan. 1 to Nov. 28 this year, has now reached 10,698.
Detoyato said these figures can be broken down into 1,121 regular NPA members who have surrendered and 9,577 supporters coming from rebels' so-called "Militia ng Bayan".
Meanwhile, he estimated the remaining regular NPA members at only 3,000 but said this number could vary as the recruitment activities of the NPAs are still ongoing.
"Nagre-recruit pa din sila kaya it’s constantly changing. (They are still recruiting so figures are constantly changing)," he added.
Detoyato attributed the steady number of surrenderers to the ongoing implementation of the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) program.
Due to this project, he said there are "more incidents of surrenders than encounters" as of this posting.
E-CLIP is one of the flagship programs of the Duterte administration that seeks to address social healing and national unity towards the higher objective of having just and lasting peace.
It aims to provide social equity to former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Militia ng Bayan to reintegrate them into mainstream society. (PNA)
Photo by Noel Celis/AFP/ABS-CBN