CAMP GUILLERMO, Nakar, Lucena (DWDD) – The terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) in Camarines Sur province have been losing strength.
According to Lt Gen Danilo Pamonag, Commander, AFP Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) they are urging the remaining guerrillas in the area to voluntarily surrender.
“Their efforts are futile. Because we value the lives of our fellow Filipinos, I encourage them to lay down their arms,” LTG Pamonag said.
After the death of the NPA top rebel leader in the region Alfredo Merilos alias “Ka Bendoy,” the communist terrorist and some supporters in Camarines Sur have immensely weakened and are demoralized. Merilos was killed in an encounter with government forces in Naga City on March 15.
On April 10 and 11, four communist terrorist were killed and five others were captured in separate encounters with Army soldiers in Bato and Lagonoy towns, while a 15-year old child warrior was captured in the Bato encounter.
Pamonag condemned the NPA for recruiting children warriors and students to replenish its dwindling fighters. “We should give them books, not guns so that they can be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” he said. Citing a statute of the International Criminal Court, Pamonag said: “Conscripting or enlisting children into armed groups is considered a war crime in international and non-international armed conflicts.” But he reiterated that Solcom is fully supportive of President Duterte’ call for the resumption of peace talks with the NPA rebels. “We prefer to resolve this peacefully, but we shall not hesitate to use our full might in crushing the insurgency in Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions,” he vowed. SOLCOM / MCAG