CABANATUAN CITY – Government forces in Central Luzon remain on track of its target of crushing rebellion until the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in mid-2022, top police and military officials said here the other day.
With this target in mind, the officials said they are in the process of dismantling the remaining three guerrilla fronts in the region belonging to the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA).
“Hopefully, we can destroy all these enemy fronts in the region this year before the end of the President’s term,” said Police Regional Office 3 director Brig. Gen. Valeriano T. De Leon, who visited Nueva Ecija on January 18 to lead the presentation of 11 rebel surrenderers to the media at the provincial police camp here.
However, with the “dwindling number” of rebel forces still actively operating within the region, De Leon and his Army counterpart, Brig. Gen. Andrew D. Costelo, 703rd Brigade commander, said declaring the entire region “insurgency-free” is still “not possible” since they are still working “double time” to attain this in collaboration with the citizenry and the involvement of the concerned local government units.
“Hindi pa din zero-insurgency ang Central Luzon, mayroon pa din silang vulnerability, vulnerable pa din sila, pero hindi katulad ng dati na they can still enjoy the shield of our community,” De Leon explained.
The PRO3 chief said the remaining rebels have resorted to plain and simple banditry as they had completely lost their idealism just to survive and have been constantly moving from one place to another to escape arrest or detection by pursuing security forces.
“Highly-mobile sila ngayon, they cannot find safety anywhere in Central Luzon anymore. Kasi tulad ng sinabi ni General Costelo napasok na ito lahat ng security sectors natin. Unlike before na mayroon pa silang tinatawag na shadow government, today they cannot have that anymore, wala na sila, masyado nang masikip ang mundo para sa kanila,” stressed De Leon.
De Leon also noted that technology has made the world smaller for the rebels.
The police general went to the province and also turned over some 20 brand-new Israeli-made Galil assault rifles to the Nueva Ecija police provincial command headed by Col. Marvin Joe C. Saro.