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Mindanao rebels beef up NPA in Luzon — Army exec

/ 05:18 AM January 16, 2019

BONGABON, Nueva Ecija UEVA — Communist rebels from Mindanao have been helping local members of the New People’s Army (NPA) intensify their operations in Nueva Ecija, Aurora and Nueva Vizcaya provinces, an Army official said here.

Col. Rowen Tolentino, commander of the Army’s 703rd (Agila) Brigade based here, said the rebels had moved to Luzon since last year amid heightened military operations in Mindanao.

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Citing intelligence reports, Tolentino said the recruited rebels were promised “better situation” in Luzon by the NPA leaders.

“These rebels from Mindanao move in platoons and hide in the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre and Cordillera in the eastern part of Nueva Ecija,” he said.

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Harassment

“Part of their operation is to harass owners of harvesters and construction companies. They demand revolutionary tax from them,” he added.

According to him, a harvester, a truck and a cement mixer were burned last year by the rebels after their owners reportedly refused to pay revolutionary tax.

He said continuing military operations against the rebels had resulted in casualties on both sides.

Two rebels were killed in a recent encounter with government soldiers under the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City while a soldier died in an NPA ambush.

Arrests

The military also recovered 24 firearms from the rebels in separate encounters and overran a major NPA camp near the Nueva Ecija and Aurora border.

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Four female rebels, including a University of the Philippines student, were arrested while they were conducting teach-ins in a Nueva Ecija town.

“We got vital information from the captured rebels and from the documents recovered from those killed,” Tolentino said.

“We are relentlessly operating against the beefed-up [operations of the] rebels who are on constant move and sometimes mingling with the villagers.” —Anselmo Roque

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TAGS: 703rd Agila Brigade, Communist Insurgency, communist rebels, NPA, Rowen Tolentino
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