CAMP GERONA, Murcia, Negros Occidental – The new commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade based here has vowed to pursue a relentless campaign against Communist rebels in Negros island as the New People’s Army went on a killing spree in the countrysides in only 15 days, admitting to executing at least four civilians it has accused of being military spies.
“It will be long and hard and blood will surely flow but there is no withdrawal…” Colonel Orlando Edralin said in his remarks during the turnover of command here from former acting brigade chief, Colonel Michael Samson, who was assigned as acting commander of the 301st Brigade based in Panay island.
Edralin, however, told DNX his remark does not refer to indiscriminate killing but is part of legitimate and intelligence-driven combat operations, the tip of the combined counterinsurgency framework that includes civil military operations and intelligence gathering.
Before he assumed command, however, the Communist New People’s Army had been killing civilians, executing four in only 15 days since mid January.
Various units of the New People’s Army have admitted to these slays, according to reports on most local radio stations and posts on social media.
The DNX compilation showed the following cases of executions as admitted by the rebels:
- Village chief Roselito Balasbas in Vallehermoso town on 14 January 2023;
- Raffy Esturco, 20 January, Moises Padilla town;
- Regie Dela Cruz, 25 January, Himamaylan City); and
- Ramel Europa, Moises Padilla, 25 January.
The police in Ilog, a town in southern Negros Occidental is also verifying reports that the NPA also owned up to the brutal murder of an elderly man, aged 65, was a
Meanwhile, Ilog town police chief, Captain Thurslie Castillo says they are verifying the reported statement of the New People’s Army admitting they killed Silas Granada for being an Army Informant.
Castillo added they have yet to confirm with Armed Forces if the victim was indeed one of their assets.
Photos from the police showed Granada’s face blown off by bullets after he was shot by at least three armed men.
Samson had earlier called the killing of civilians as a “desperate move” by the rebels as they continue to lose the support of rural folk who are getting fed up with what they are doing like forcing poor mountain folk to give them money or produce.