NPA reports recent victories in Albay; AFP counters with rebel surrender claims

The New People’s Army (NPA) in Bicol reports successful ambuscades in Albay province this month, countering Philippine Army claims of demoralization in the ranks of communist guerrillas in the region.

The NPA said its Santos Binamera Command in Albay killed seven soldiers of the Philippine Army’s (PA) 49th Infantry Battalion in a clash in the town of Jovellar last October 3 while suffering no casualty of their own.

This followed a series of offensive military operations in the province that resulted in the death of nine more government troopers since September, the NPA claimed.

Raymundo Buenfuerza, NPA Bicol spokesperson, said their recent successes in Albay is a slap on both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) that claim counter-insurgency programs have weakened the rebel army in the region.

“[The] Red army still is, and will remain, unfaltering,” Buenfuerza said in a statement.

The rebel spokesperson said their recent victories continue to defeat “massive and intensive” government military operations in Albay.

“Not less than 11 combat companies of AFP-PNP are deployed while 20 CAFGU detachments are in the area. The Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group 5, Philippine Navy’s 4th Naval Station and Naval Task Force 41 – NAVFORSOL as well as PNP Region V’s central commands also have their bases in Albay,” the NPA-Romulo Jallores Command spokesperson said.

“Despite this, the Red army is exemplary in continuously reaping victories in the field,” Buenfuerza said.

The PA has not made statements on the latest NPA claims of recent successful ambuscades.

Instead, the PA’s 9th Infantry Division announced that seven NPA members surrendered in Masbate province last October 16 while one of its units have killed a rebel fighter in a clash in Barangay Liong, Cataingan town last October 8.

Second Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Orlando Ramos Jr. identified the slain alleged NPA fighter as Lito Villaces Ajena, alias Cesar.

Buenfuerza said the NPA in Bicol are set to launch more and bigger military offensives in the region in the future.

“The NPA cannot be stopped and will never be defeated. It will continue to advance until the people’s democratic revolution’s complete victory,” Buenfuerza said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Bicol NPA: ‘Gov’t attacks us because they fear our strength’

The Romulo Jallores Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Bicol Region said the government’s increased military presence in civilian communities is proof of their strength, contrary to government’s claims that the Communist guerrilla army is weakening.

In an audio statement 12 days before their 53rd founding anniversary, NPA-Bicol spokesperson Raymund Buenferza said the ruling class is in fact showing fear by flooding communities with government troops as the Communists continue their revolutionary work among the masses.

“They are being eaten by their desperation to crush the gains of the revolutionary movement, both by the earlier and our current generation of NPAs,” Buenfuerza said.

The regional NPA spokesperson said the government has launched costly, prolonged and widespread military operations to force the guerrillas into sustained combat to try to decimate their ranks in the region.

Buenfuerza however urged their Bicolano comrades to keep on resisting and remain faithful to their cause for meaningful change.

“Whatever it is that the government is making us suffer—if your areas are militarized, your work is being disrupted, the mass bases are being attacked—remember that these are because we are faithful to our struggle for the interests of the masses,” he said.

‘The military had last say on talks’

Buenfuerza’s remarks came as President Rodrigo Duterte again mocked the NPA in an address before alleged guerrilla surrenderees in Leyte Province on Thursday, March 17.

In his speech, Duterte said the NPA’s 53 year war is going nowhere.

“[T]ell those crazy people, those who are still fighting the government…Tell them that Mayor (Duterte) is urging you to surrender because I might return before I step down. If there are others who will surrender — if possible all your remaining comrades, come down here now because I can still help you,” he said.

Duterte also said he is instructing the military and police to allow the NPA members who wish to surrender to do so peacefully.

He also again promised to award surrenderees houses and livelihood, even cars.

Duterte said he allowed the resumption of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines early in his term, but was eventually prevailed upon by the military to withdraw.

“The military did not like it; I asked them to give me a chance to (talk peace). They said, ‘Sir, this is likely to result in a coalition government (with the Communists),’” Duterte said.

No giving up

Buenfuerza said the masses’ abject economic conditions encourage them to join their revolution however.

A vast rank of the people is being forced to choose between the two opposing sides of revolution and reaction, the NPA spokesperson said.

“The intensification of the government’s attacks gives way to the deepening politicization of our entire people,” he said.

“The enemy is welcome to delude themselves they are at the eve of their victory while we strengthen ourselves as we grab at the opportunity to move forward,” he added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Duterte’s counter-insurgency measures will be defeated, Bicol NPA vows

BICOL–The New People’s Army (NPA) in the Bicol region vowed to defeat President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest counter-insurgency orders, saying the new militarist measures are barefaced efforts to extend martial rule and impose “fascist dictatorship” from Mindanao to the rest of the country.

In a press conference days before the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrates its 50th founding anniversary on Wednesday, the Romulo Jallores Command (RJC), the regional formation of the NPA in Bicol, said Duterte has completely set-up his requisites to impose nationwide martial law.

“The people of Bicol condemns Duterte’s Executive Order Number 70 that sets up its so-called National Task Force Against Communist Insurgency and yet another extension of martial law in Mindanao until [the end of] 2019,” Raymond Buenfuerza, RJC spokesperson, said.

Duterte has only shown that his “treacherous populism” has been unmasked in issuing such orders, the group added.

Duterte signed EO 70 last December 4 following his issuance of Memorandum Order 32 last November 22 ordering increased military presence and operations in Bicol, Samar and Negros Island against communist revolutionary groups in the said regions.

Buenfuerza told a select group of journalists in a NPA camp in the region that Duterte’s militarist approach would only encourage Bikolanos to resist.

“The people had long embraced revolutionary armed struggle to fight for their democratic interests that are being denied by the imperialist United States and local ruling elite,” Buenfuerza said.

“Duterte does nothing but inspire the people to topple the rotten and crisis-ridden system that is made worse by both fascist attacks of the regime,” he added.

The RJC said there have been 77 victims of extrajudicial killings in the Bicol region under Duterte, adding the Bicol region has among the most number of victims of the government’s Oplan Tokhang.

In response, Buenferza said the various NPA units under the RJC have carried out nearly 90 tactical offensives in 2018, killing 68 state security forces and wounding 50 others “in response to the “heightening calls for justice.”

In spite of increased and more vicious attacks by the military and police, the NPA has not only successfully defended its fronts in Bicol but has strengthened its more than 110 guerrilla fronts all over the country, Buenfuerza said.

The NPA called on Bicolanos to further resist and defeat Duterte’s EO 70 and martial law in Mindanao.

“Let us be inspired by the 50th anniversary of the CPP to launch intensified people’s struggles as well as tactical offensives of the NPA until the fascist and terrorist US-Duterte regime is completely defeated,” Buenfuerza said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

3 CAFGUs die in Masbate encounter

Three government troopers under the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army were killed in an encounter in Masbate Province Friday morning, a spot report from the Philippine National Police said.

The soldiers figured in a fire fight with suspected members of the New People’s Army at Barangay Mactan, Cawayan town at about 8:30 in the morning that resulted in the deaths of three Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit auxiliary troopers, the police added.

The Masbate Provincial Police Office (MASPPO) said that soldiers of the Philippine Army detachment based in Barangay Del Carmen in Uson town were conducting combat patrol operations when they encountered NPA fighters in the area.

The MASPPO did not reveal the names of the casualties.

The PNP said they have yet to determine if the NPA also suffered casualties.

The Romulo Jallores Command of the NPA in the Bicol Region has yet to issue a statement on the incident. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)