BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – An Army battalion covering areas under the Communist Party’s front founded by former priest and captured top cadre Frank Fernandez has reported a series of surrenders by rebels, some possibly part of the original recruits by Fernandez when it started rebuilding efforts in the island during the 90s.
In the same period, another Army battalion reported the discovery of an abandoned rebel camp in the southern Occidental city of Kabankalan.
The 62nd Battalion said the 10 “terrorists” gave themselves up to government on three separate dates, from 20 to 22 December 2022, in the Negros Oriental city of Guihulngan, a key area in the recovery efforts of the Communist Party’s “reaffirmist faction” in the 1990s.
Captain Dorcesimo R Cuyag said in a dispatch from the 62nd’s base in Isabela town that the rebels cited fear, hunger, hardships, and the realization that they were disrupting people’s lives as among the reasons why these guerrillas of the New People’s Army or NPA yielded to government in Guihulngan, a city in the Oriental side more than 100 kilometers north of here.
The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP that had been waging a war in the countryside against the government for 54 years today as it marks its founding.
Cuyag said Crasiolo Landisa aka Claire, 53,and Redgen Landisa aka Anghel, 22, both members of Central Negros Front 1 (CN1), Komiteng Rehiyon – Negros Cebu Bohol Siquijor (KR-NCBS) and residents of So Anahaw, Brgy Trinidad, Guihulngan City, surrendered to government forces on 20 December 2022 (Tuesday).
He added they said they “were so exhausted in evading the relentless Focus Military Operations and Joint Enhanced Military Police Operations (JEMPO) of the 62IB and PNP.”
They also turned-over one M16 A1 rifle, one Colt M203 40mm Grenade Launcher and a cal .45 pistol.
The following day, 21 December 2022, six guerrillas – aBoging Cantila aka Jona, 52, Crisel Fat aka Tadlong, 39, Jerome Bitongga aka Bradley, 36, Joel Sta Ana aka Prince, 23, Ricky Saraguelles aka Bugtong, 32, and Rodney Pasatiempo aka Gary, 25 – all members of the same front, gave themselves up to the 62nd and the PNP “upon realizing that the deceitful (CPP) causes chaos and disturbance of Negrenses.”
They also told soldiers “their lives with the (CPP) were purposeless.”
The last batch – Jercel Gonzaga aka Be-an, 27, and Ronel Gonzaga aka Robert, 33, surrendered on the 22nd with two handguns, a .45 pistol and a .357 revolver.
On the day the surrenders started, Camp Gerona’s civil military officer reported the discovery by 94th Battalion soldiers of a newly abandoned NPA camp in the uplands of Kabankalan, the city 100 kilometers south of here where the rebels lost their top cadre, Ericson Acosta, in a firefight early this month.
Captain Mervin Rosal said in a separate dispatch from the 303rd Brigade that a rifle unit of the 94th on security patrol in the mountain community of Tara, Tan-awan village found the camp on 20 December 2022.
Rosal described the camp wide enough for 20 people with areas for cooking and meetings with foxholes and barricades.
“The said enemy encampment was estimated to be abandoned for only about 2 or 3 hours before the troops arrived. Evident to this were fresh tracks of shoes and boots going towards the northeast direction of said Sitio,” Rosal said.
Soldiers found a pair of boots, a hammock, and a backpack containing subversive documents and personal belongings from the camp..
ROSAL quoted Brigadier General Inocencio I Pasaporte PA, Commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, as having said: “The communist-terrorist group, CPP-NPA-NDF, is on the run after suffering setbacks in their leadership in the past months to mention the death of their key leaders in Negros Island, notably the death of Romeo Nanta @Juanito Magbanua, and Ericson Acosta @Raffy who were both killed in an encounter.”
Pasaporte further said that the death of Jose Maria Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, just this month will have a profound effect on the direction and morale of communist terrorists to continue their useless armed struggle.