DON’T look now, but government security forces dealt the New People’s Army (NPA) a “big blow” amid the crippling coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic last year.
Records show that 165 armed NPAs were killed, 433 arrested and 3,165 surrendered as a result of Philippine National Police (PNP)-initiated counter-insurgency operations.
In 2019, 15 NPA rebels were slain in police operations, while 28 were captured. On the other hand, 405 surrendered, according to PNP Director for Operations M/Gen. Alfred S. Corpus.
Likewise, Corpus said a total of 897 assorted firearms were confiscated from slain, captured or surrendered NPAs last year compared to 1,699 firearms accounted for by the PNP in 2019.
Due to waning mass support and the intensified drive against the rebels through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), there was a big decline in NPA-initiated atrocities in 2020.
This after the NPA, the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), was declared as a terrorist group.
Thus, various quarters, like the police and the military, expect the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) to undertake propaganda blitz against the government this year as it did in the past.
In fact, self-exiled CPP Chairman Jose Ma. Sison had earlier announced the deployment of the so-called “Sparrow Units” to target security agents in Metropolitan Manila.
However, PNP chief Gen. Debold M. Sinas declared the determination of the national police agency, in coordination with the military, to continue the offensive against NPAs in the countryside.
“We’re intensifying our security preparations and I’m assuring the people that our police forces are ready for all kinds of threat,” said the hard-hitting Sinas, who is set to retire in May 2021.
Of course, people expect the communist rebels’ propaganda war against the Duterte government to rise in crescendo as the Filipino people prepare for next year’s national and local polls.