BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – As government troopers rack up successive battlefield wins against the New People’s Army, a ranking Army official in the Visayas said Red combat effectiveness is down by almost half in Negros island this year compared to previous years.
Major Cenon Pancito III told DNX based on intelligence information coming even from underground sources, two out of five rebel fronts cannot be classified as such anymore.
He said based on information from their sources and from documents seized from the underground during raids and from captured rebels, the two rebel fronts – the Northern Negros and Southwest Fronts – of the NPA cannot fully function anymore.
Underground sources said a “front” is a territory that rebels define as an area under which they can operate with relative ease.
A front, by standards of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is supposed to have at least a platoon of fully-armed guerrillas or fighters with rifles.
The front or a Guerrilla zone is equivalent to a political district of the government of the Republic of the Philippines and is defined by the underground as an area “where Red political power exists.”
Combat effectiveness, in simple terms, is defined by experts as the ability by a military unit to win battles and fulfill missions.
It is determined by, among others, leadership, firepower, and operational efficiency.
As this developed, soldiers found the body of what the Army believes is a rebel who died in an armed encounter with soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion in the sub-village of Mabanga, Bagtic village in La Libertad town.
The body was found by troops who scoured the encounter site moments after the battle around 2pm the other day.
Soldiers also seized a 5.56 M16 rifle; one long M16 magazine; one anti-personnel mine; and one rifle grenade.
Major General Eric Vinoya, commander of the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division said, the encounter “was a product of the vigilance and support of the local populace to the Army by feeding correct and timely information on the movement of the CTGs, and the unending efforts and strategies of every Spearhead Trooper in intensifying the government’s campaign against insurgency in the region.”
“We will mobilize all of our capabilities to make sure that these communist-terrorists will not have the opportunity to unleash violence in the Island. The recent encounter should serve as a stern warning to the remaining CTG members in the area to surrender to the folds of the law to avoid misfortune and death,” Vinoya said in a news release.
DNX sought the comment of the rebel underground but its spokesman, Juanito Magbanua, has yet to respond to questions from DNX.