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Bicol Red fighters abort CCP anniversary plans

THE New People’s Army in Bicol region aborted its planned celebration of the 52nd founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) amid the series of heavy losses it had suffered from the hands of security forces including tactical setbacks and massive defections in their rank, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas announced yesterday.

Sinas said the local communist movement and its armed component in the Bicol Region aborted their plan to celebrate the CPP anniversary in Cawayan, Masbate following a last-minute decision.

Citing a report from Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) director, Brigadier Gen. Bartolome R. Bustamante, Sinas said that police intelligence officers monitored the plan of the CPP/NPA’s Bicol Regional Party Committee to abort their celebration in Masbate.

Sinas had noted the passive stance of the CPP-NPA that strongly supports the overall assessment that the movement has been substantially weakened because of sustained and intensified government efforts to end the local communist armed conflict.

He added that the program has already resulted in significant losses of key NPA leaders, seasoned fighters and mass-base supporters.

The PNP chief said a series of incidents preceding the December 26 planned celebration in Masbate was precipitated by the death of a ranking NPA finance officer during a police operation in Masbate City last December 23.

He added that Arjan Torres alias’ Jan-Jan,’ a 29-year old resident of Bgy. Cawayan Interior, Masbate City, died in an encounter with police officers who were out to arrest him on the strength of three warrants of arrest issued by separate local courts.

Torres, identified in police records as an NPA finance officer and “revolutionary tax” collector of the NPA Larangan 1 movement, is the subject of a warrant of arrest for murder issued by Judge Ronald Bersales of the Masbate City Regional Trial Court Branch 47; and another warrant of arrest for attempted murder issued by Judge Teofilo Tambago of the Masbate City RTC Branch 46.

Following Torres’ death, the vice commanding officer of the NPA’s Larangan 1 under the CPP/NPA’s Bicol Regional Party Committee identified as Gil Pascua alias ‘Ka Ronald ‘surrendered to authorities along with three followers.

Bustamante said Pascua and his followers are now fully cooperating with them in their effort to account for wanted NPA rebels in Bicol.