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NPA in Camarines Sur losing strength-–Solcom

LUCENA CITY–The New People’s Army (NPA) in Camarines Sur province have been losing strength, according to the top commander of the military’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) on Wednesday. He urged the remaining guerrillas in the area to surrender.

“Their efforts are futile. Because we value the lives of our fellow Filipinos, I encourage them to lay down their arms,” Lt. General Danilo Pamonag, Solcom commander, said in a statement.

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After the death of the province’s top rebel leader Alfredo Merilos alias “Ka Bendoy,” the communist guerrillas and their supporters in Camarines Sur have considerably weakened and demoralized, he pointed out.

Merilos was killed in an alleged encounter with state security forces in Naga City on March 15.

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On Monday and Tuesday, four alleged NPA rebels were killed and five others were captured in separate encounters with Army soldiers in Bato and Lagonoy towns.

Solcom reported that one of the captured rebels in the Bato encounter is a 15-year-old boy.

Pamonag condemned the NPA for recruiting children warriors and students to replenish its dwindling fighters.

“We should give them books, not guns so that they can be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” he said.

Citing a statute of the International Criminal Court, Pamonag said: “Conscripting or enlisting children into armed groups is considered a war crime in international and non-international armed conflicts.”

But he reiterated that Solcom is fully supportive of President Duterte’ call for the resumption of peace talks with the NPA rebels.

“We prefer to resolve this peacefully, but we shall not hesitate to use our full might in crushing the insurgency in Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions,” he vowed./lb

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TAGS: Alfredo Merilos, Camarines Sur, Danilo Pamonag, NPA, Peace Talks, SOLCOM
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