Communist insurgency leads to 400 casualties since 2011
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 30, 2013 - 5:12pm

Close to 400 people have died in atrocities and clashes related to communist insurgency since 2011, the year the government started implementing security plan Bayanihan.

Military data show that a total of 200 persons died in 2011, higher than the 164 recorded last year. There were 19 fatalities during the first quarter of this year.

Of the 383 fatalities, 158 were civilians while the rest were soldiers, policemen and government militias.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) suffered 147 fatalities while the Philippine National Police and civilian armed auxiliary units recorded 26 and 52 deaths, respectively.

AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said the data highlights the need for the communist rebels to give up on the armed struggle.

“The armed violence is destroying public infrastructure and vital economic facilities and even causing innocent lives. If the NPA (New People’s Army) rebels are pro-people, they must abandon armed violence,” Burgos said.

Burgos said the military backs the peace talks with the rebels but is also prepared to thwart their attacks.

“While we support the peace-building activities of the government, our focused combat operations directed against the armed group in the countryside will continue to protect our people in the communities,” he said.

The peace talks between the government and the communists hit an impasse due to differences over jailed insurgents facing criminal cases.


The National Democratic Front (NDF), which represents the rebels in the talks, insists that its jailed leaders be freed since they are covered by immunity guarantees.

The government, however, refused to do so, saying the NDF has no means to prove that the jailed rebels are indeed peace consultants who are immune from arrests.

State negotiators also complain that the rebels have too many preconditions and demands, making it hard to resume the talks.

Last week, government chief negotiator Alexander Padilla said they are considering a “new approach” to peacefully resolve the conflict with the communists.

Some sectors believe Padilla practically gave up on the peace talks with the NDF when he made the statement.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has asked the military field commanders to hold localized negotiations while the peace talks in the national level remain stalled. 
 

ALEXANDER PADILLA ARMED ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ARNULFO BURGOS JR. BAYANIHAN BURGOS DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT NEW PEOPLE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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