NPA losing ground in Quezon, claims Army officer
LUCENA CITY, Philippines—The New People’s Army is losing the battle in Quezon province, forcing it to bring in warriors from other parts of the country to make its presence felt, a military official claimed Thursday.
“The NPA rebels in Quezon are now dwindling. They have to import comrades from Bicol, Mindoro and Batangas to help them recover lost ground,” Col. Rhoderick Parayno, the new commander of the Army’s 201st Infantry Brigade operating in Quezon, said in an interview.
He said communist guerrillas in the province were exerting all their effort on occasional tactical offensives, harassment, propaganda and collection of the so-called revolutionary tax to give the impression that they were still a force to reckon with.
Parayno said with the cooperation of local government officials and ordinary citizens in the government anti-insurgency program, the NPA in Quezon would find it hard to recover.
“Most of the time, it is the people themselves through text messages who are providing us the locations of the enemies,” Parayno said.
On Monday, at least two suspected NPA rebels were killed in an encounter with Army soldiers in Tayabas City.
Lt. Col. Lloyd Cabacungan, spokesman of the Armed Forces’ Southern Luzon Command, said that patrolling soldiers from the 85th Infantry Battalion engaged a band of rebels in Barangay Palali at 4:15 p.m. on Monday.
Cabacungan identified one of the slain rebels as a Peping Agudo, the alleged logistics and finance officer of an NPA platoon under the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee. The other fatality had yet to be identified.
Military records showed Agudo was captured in 2012 and jailed in Bicutan. However, he jumped bail and returned to the underground movement.
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