BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – If Communist terrorists were in the unlikely situation of being in a videoke bar, they would be picking the Queen song “I Want to Break Free” for their table’s turn as the relentless combat offensives of the the Philippine Army in the island is increasingly pushing them to the brink of decisive defeat, a top Army officer in the region told DNX.
As thousands of soldiers in the island go on a renewed offensive in areas the Communists they once boasted to be their bases or “fronts in their parlance, their unified regional committee is now trying hard to not suffocate by trying to poke through the stranglehold of State security forces.
Army Third Division spokesman Lieutenant Colonel J-Jay Javines told DNX the recent focus of the remaining forces of the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, to recover two of its dismantled areas – the Northern Negros Front and the Southeast Front – indicate the rebels are groanimg under the pressure of focused military operations by two brigades, the 302nd and the 303rd covering the Occidental and Oriental provinces of the island.
Javines made the observation after DNX sought him for comment on two recent clashes, one in Calatrava town in the Occidental under the 303rd Brigade and another in Santa Catalina town in the Oriental under the 302nd.
A policeman was killed in ths Calatrava clash while a ranking rebel and a government trooper were both killed in the Santa Catalina firefight.
Calatrava used to be an area where the rebels had influence under the Northern Front while Santa Catalina used to be under the Northern Front.
The Arny had declared both as dismantled meaning the politico-military infrastructure of the rebels had been destroyed.
The CPP considers a platoon or at least 30 armed regulars as the effective fighting force in a front that is also the center of gravity for other fighting forces, at least a squad each, in each town or city covered by the front.
This platoon is also the security force or SF of the Front Executive Committee or leadership of that front.
In the case of a dismantled frint, the armed regulars have been reduced to a handful of fighters or remnants, Army officials pointed out to DNX
Javines pointed out the relentless pressure by each battalion assigned to a front has caused the regional leadership to be based in only two – the Central Negros or CN1 and CN2.
The regional leadership, called the Regional Committee Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, is based in the island and directs the operations of the Communist underground since the rebels suffered strategic defeats in the neighboring islands.
Javines said the regional leadership needs a rebel base to shift too aside from the two remaining fronts.
Otherwise, it would be crushed on the battlefield.
The assessment of Javines came after former Communist cadre Jeffrey Celiz also told DNX the recent rebel activities only indicate the Communists are desperately fighting to recover their lost bases to avoid decisive defeat.