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Huge NPA camp found at Aurora-Ecija border

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija — Army troopers have discovered an abandoned camp of New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas some 2,000 feet above sea level in Baran—gay Tagumpay in Gabaldon town this province.

Military officials believe it was the biggest NPA camp ever to be abandoned by fleeing rebels at the Aurora-Nueva Ecija boundary.

Col. Jovenal Narcise, commander of the Army’s 702nd Infantry Brigade, said the camp in Sitio Dupinga was located along the Sierra Madre mountain ranges and was concealed from aerial view by thick forests.

"It is the largest rebel camp so far discovered in the brigade’s area of operations. The government troopers are still scouring the area to find out when the rebels had abandoned it," Narcise said.

He said it was the 17th abandoned rebel camp to be discovered by the military at the Aurora-Nueva Ecija boundary since April 2 last year.

The camp, with an area of about 5,000 square meters, has 26 bunkers made of wood and could accommodate some 500 people.

Meanwhile, the Central Luzon police reported a widening gap between the firepower of communist rebels and the police force in the region.

Senior Superintendent Oscar Calderon, regional police director, estimated that the two communist armed rebel groups in Central Luzon — the NPA and the Rebolusyonaryong Hukbo ng Bayan (RHB) — have about 428 assorted firearms, much less than the regional police’s "total firepower capability" of 10,645 firearms of various types.

Police, he said, have 4,729 "standard" short firearms and 5,916 rifles and "crew-served" weapons.

Calderon also cited military reports that the number of armed communist fighters in Central Luzon has gone down to about 764 for the NPA and another 274 for the RHB.

He said the police, on the other hand, have 6,863 personnel in Central Luzon, consisting of 5,952 assigned at the different provincial commands, 557 based at the regional headquarters in San Fernando City in Pampanga, and 344 more assigned to the regional mobile groups.

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