Over 10,900 Reds, supporters neutralized in 2019 — AFP
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least 10,900 New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas and their supporters were neutralized in separate military and police operations last year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported yesterday.

Of the number, 142 rebels were killed in armed clashes and in military and police operations. Over 276 were arrested.

The rest, including fighters and members of the militia and underground mass organizations voluntarily, surrendered to authorities.

In the same year, the military seized and recovered 1,860 firearms and 452 improvised explosive devices.

Close to 450 rebel camps were overrun across the country. 

The number of neutralized rebels indicated operational gains for the military and was attained through the whole-of-nation approach toward ending the insurgency problem, according to AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.

“Through good governance as the centerpiece of Executive Order No. 70, the number of communist group members who surrendered, apprehended or have died in combat operations increased exponentially,” Arevalo said. 

“We attribute this to the trust and confidence of our countrymen to the AFP,” he added, noting that people nowadays are not afraid to report the presence of rebels in their communities. 

NPA leader surrenders

An alleged ranking official of the NPA in Northern Luzon recently surrendered to authorities in Ilocos Sur.

Evaristo Boquing Jr., reportedly secretary general of the NPA’s Platoon-South Ilocos Sur from 2014 to 2018, surrendered to Mayor Leopoldo Geronilla of Salcedo town on Feb. 18.

Boquing is reportedly one of the senior advisers of the communist group operating in the Ilocos region and in other provinces in Northern Luzon.

He was reportedly involved in several attacks against government security forces, a bus company and a cigarette firm from 2007 to 2014.

Members of the Ilocos Sur peace panel convinced Boquing to return to the fold of the law.                      

Boquing will receive benefits accorded to rebel-returnees as provided under the enhanced comprehensive local integration program of the government.– With Artemio Dumlao

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