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Communist-influence in Central Visayas, diminishing

CEBU CITY, Cebu (PIA) -- The activities of Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) in Central Visayas are now confined to mere sightings and visitations thanks to continuous police and military operations and government interventions in what used to be rebel-infested areas, a ranking Army official said recently.

“The significant decline of the CTG is attributed to the relentless operations by police and the military as well as ELCAC interventions,” reported Lt. Colonel Eric B. Alfonso, commander  of the 3rd Infantry Division, Philippine Army. 

ELCAC or End Local Communist Armed Conflict refers to programs initiated by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, a body created under Executive Order 70 issued by former President Rodrigo Duterte.

EO 70 aims to “provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.”

During the recent Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting, Alfonso said the insurgency threat is on a downward trend with the reduction of its manpower from 38 to 20. 

Firepower went down to 19 from 55 in one year, or from the first quarter of 2023 to first quarter of this year, he added. 

Due to aggressive military and non-military interventions, four CTG fronts have been dismantled. 

Out of the four fronts, three were in Negros Oriental and one in Bohol, said Alfonso.

File photo: Negros Oriental Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion hands over medicines to residents of Brgy. Candabong, Manjuyod town during the Serbisyo Caravan held by the Philippine National Police in 2022 in line with the the government’s whole-of-nation approach under End Local Communist Armed Conflict. (PIA7 Negros Oriental)

In his presentation, the army official said the CTG’s non-violent activities, which include visitations, have been frequently monitored on the South East Front in Negros Oriental and Bohol. 

“Movements and visitations are done by the CTG as part of its attempt to recover their bases,” said Alfonso.

Among the government services provided in red-infested areas in Negros Oriental were farm to market roads, housing project for former rebels, and medical missions in remote barangays.

A major accomplishment this year was the encounter between the rebels and government troops in Bilar town, Bohol on Feb. 23, which left five alleged communist rebels dead and the seizure of four high-powered firearms, said Alfonso. 

The incident, however, also led to the killing of a policeman.

Domingo Compoc, the reported leader of the NPA unit in Bohol, was among those killed, which Alfonso said would result in the destruction of the CTG in Bohol province.

The continuous decline of CTG personalities and firearms, as well as the neutralization of CTG personalities and restricting CTG movement in their frequented areas, will eventually weaken the group, said Alfonso.

In November last year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. issued amnesty proclamations in fulfillment of his promise in his Second State of the Nation Address, which is to grant amnesty to rebels who returned to the folds of the law.

The president issued Proclamation Nos. 403 and 404 granting amnesty to members of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB) and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

The amnesty, however, does not cover crimes like terrorism, kidnap for ransom, rape, massacre, war crimes, and other gross violations of human rights, among others.  

The president said the amnesty is granted to complete the reintegration process of the rebels. (FCR/PIA7)

File photo: A dentist of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Negros Oriental performs tooth extraction on a boy from Brgy. Sab-ahan, Bais City during the PNP outreach activity held August 10, 2023 in line with the government’s whole-of-nation approach under End Local Communist Armed Conflict. (RAL/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

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Fayette Riñen

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Region 7

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