Number of NPA rebels in Davao dwindling: AFP

The 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army has declared that the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Davao Region has gone down to just a little over 500.

From January to September this year, the military disclosed that the NPA’s strength has gone down from its original strength of 3,000. Army’s 10th ID spokesperson Capt. Jerry Lamosao disclosed to Edge Davao that based on their record there are 242 surrenderees (armed) from January to September this year.

“There are about 500 remaining rebels all over the region from thr previous 2,000 to 3,000 members. Ngayon more than 500 na lang tapos kalat kalat pa sila. Medyo mahirap silang hanapin dahil nasa mga boundaries sila. But with the help of the people. Ang iba nag-surrender pero Yung iba natatamaan during encounter,” Lamosao said.

The surrenderees, according tohim, are mostly hiding in the hinterlands of Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.

The Army spokesperson also said they recovered more than 100 high powered and 67 low- powered Firearms during encounter and pursuit operations. He said 100 high-powered firearms and 96 low-powered firearms were surrendered by the rebels. More than 400 rebels also re-affirmed their allegiance to the government.

He attributed the increasing number of surrenderees and the diminishing numbers of the NPAs to the efforts not just by the military but the stakeholders and the  participation of government agencies.

“Military addresses the armed component of the NPAs. We belong to the cluster of peace and development that involves military action to achieve peace particularly armed confrontation,” he said.

Lamosao said they partnered with the Local Government Units (LGUs)  and non-government agencies for the implementation of peace and development. He emphasized that to prevent these rebels to recruit new members, issues that are being carried by this armed group should be addressed by concerned agencies.

“Bakit ma-prevent natin ang insurgency at recruitment ng NPA? Una pag armed component we requested them to surrender. Yung mga issues na Gina gamit Nila Para Maka-recruit will be addressed by concerned agency. In that way we will be able to prevent possible recruitment, ” he said. “Kami ay nanawagan sa mga NPAs to surrender Para walang buhay na masayang on both sides. Hindi po namin layunin na papatayin sila Kaya nga kami nanawagan na mag surrender sila. Hindi gusto ng mga sundalo na maki-giyera sa kaila, Kung meron man gusto ng katahimikan Yun ay ang mga sundalo.”

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier mandated the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to use all available air assets, fire support, arsenal, and field artillery to put an end to the insurgency.