NPA spots chance to expand in Luzon, Visayas by clashing with AFP troops
DAVAO CITY — Engaging military forces in a sustained guerrilla war in Mindanao offers an opportunity for the expansion of New People’s Army units in Visayas and Luzon, according to a senior communist leader.
In a statement issued for the 47th founding anniversary of the NPA on Tuesday, National Democratic Front-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos said that 68 of the military’s 113 battalions have been operating in Mindanao. Of the 68, 34 are in communist hotspots while the other 34 are in Moro areas, according to Madlos.
“And while the enemy has concentrated 60 percent of the AFP’s forces in Mindanao, it gives much leeway for the regions in Luzon and in the Visayas to significantly advance the armed struggle,” Madlos said.
Madlos noted that the concentration of military operations in Southern and Northeastern Mindanao regions “opens the perfect opportunity” for the other guerrilla formations in the island to “make headway in their expansion and consolidation work and in their overall effort to advance the revolution within their territories.”
However, Madlos admitted that the military focus in the area has also affected the communist movement and Moro armed groups and their communities.
“Brutal campaigns and military operations have been launched almost simultaneously against revolutionary forces led by the Party, NPA and the NDF and, at the same time, against Moro armed groups that continue to wage armed struggle,” Madlos said.
Madlos said that this has “inflicted immeasurable suffering” on the communities and revolutionary forces most especially in the countryside.
“It has been the standard procedure of these operations to perpetrate massacres with impunity, murders, burning of houses and schools, indiscriminate shelling, bombings (with the use of helicopters and bomber planes), forcible evacuations and other despicable forms of brutalities,” he claimed.
Despite the persisting military operations, Madlos asserted that the NPA has expanded and has been operating in 2,500 communities covering 200 towns in 20 provinces in Mindanao.
“The population influenced by the revolution increased to several millions, wherein 200,000 are directly organized, while tens of thousands are covered by the people’s revolutionary governments in numerous communities and barangays and some at the municipal level,” Madlos said.
The communist leader added there has been a growth in the recruitment of “people’s militias” who have been participating in direct military actions, intelligence work and logistical support.
Madlos also claimed that at least 500 tactical offensives were launched in Mindanao in 2015, which doubled the 250 attacks reported in 2010.
“Over the last two months of 2016 alone, the NPA in Mindanao launched more than a hundred TOs (tactical offensives), most of which were directed against detachments and regular troops of the AFP,” Madlos said.
He added that the NPA has also stepped up its “punitive measures” against plantations and large-scale mining owned by multinational corporations that allegedly “grabbed ancestral lands from the Lumad, monopolized lands and deprived the peasantry the opportunity for agrarian reform.”
“These corporations have also tremendously exploited the workers, and have wantonly plundered the natural resources and extensively damaged the environment,” Madlos said. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.