AFP: No violence from NPA in Cordillera for six months
BAGUIO CITY — Communist rebels have not clashed with soldiers for the past six months in the Cordillera mountains, prior to the August 6 attack on a human rights worker in Ifugao, according to the latest military reports.
Only 84 armed members of the New People’s Army have been tallied in upland provinces, and have generally taken a low profile to regroup, replenish resources and recruit new members, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said during the Thursday quarterly assembly of the Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council at the Presidential Mansion.
“As evident by the decreased number of monitored activities of [the Nona del Rosario Command operating in two Ifugao towns and two towns in Nueva Vizcaya],” the military believes the command’s 17 rebels there have pulled back to a town bordering Ifugao and Benguet province where “they are more secure.”
The Leonardo Pacsi Command which the army dubbed Marco, that operates in 6 towns of Mountain Province and two towns in Ifugao, and the Lejo Cawilan Command dubbed Baggas, which operates in four towns and a city in Kalinga province, have been steering clear of military presence near their areas, the report says.
But their “non-violent activities” suggest the rebels are still trying to expand their base towards other upland towns as well as neighboring provinces, it adds.
The military has also kept tabs on the rebel command dubbed Ampis, which operates in two Mountain Province towns, a town in Benguet province, two towns in Ilocos Sur and a town in Abra, as well as members of the Danilo Ben Command who have operated in four towns of Apayao province and five towns in Cagayan province.
The military report did not make any reference to American Brandon Lee, who has been hospitalized for serious gun injuries after he was attacked on Thursday in Lagawe, Ifugao.
Lee is a paralegal volunteer of the Ifugao Peasant Movement, who was allegedly being tailed by army soldiers in Ifugao, according to the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance.
Earlier at the Mansion, Abra Gov. Joy Bernos almost delayed the confirmation of private sector representatives selected to join the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC), saying she did not want the body to be infiltrated by the Left.
Bernos urged the RDC to postpone the inclusion of 10 sector members until the military and the police verifies if they have sympathies or affiliations with leftist organizations.
She was supported by police and military officers at the meeting, but a majority of the RDC members voted to proceed with the confirmation of representatives of six Cordillera provinces, and sectors for indigenous peoples, the environment, economic development and social development.
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