4 NPA leaders, 11 fighters killed in Northern Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Sunday, May 17, that 4 leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) and 11 fighters were killed in a series of “surgical operations” by troops from the Eastern Mindanao Command from May 10 to 13.
In a statement, the AFP identified the top NPA leader as Ian de la Rama alias “Gian” and the other key leaders as Rio Amor Yuson alias “Lema”, a finance officer; Paquito Namatidong alias “Sangka”, a platoon leader; and Peter Mansaginda PInakilid alias “Aloy”, the political officer of Guerilla Front 4A.
The military said that the NPAs killed in the skirmishes with soldiers were operating in the boundaries of Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental and Agusan del Norte.
“Neutralizing four NPA leaders in a continuing operation will inevitably lead to not only the dismantling of a particularly notorious NPA group but to the weakening and eventual demise of other CTGs (communist terrorist groups) in Eastern Mindanao,” AFP Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos, Jr said in the statement.
The AFP said that since January 2020, there were 186 rebels killed in different encounters with soldiers.
Earlier, the military said that 17 guerillas were killed in focused military operations in different parts of the country from May 4 to 11, and another 19 rebels surrendered to the military and police.
According to the AFP statement, since 2019, the Eastern Mindanao Command has cleared 16 major NPA clusters that had around 600 armed members operating in remote barangays in the northern and central parts of Northern Mindanao (Region 10).
Thirteen units were “neutralized” in 2019, the other 3 were “eradicated” in January, the military said.
Last month, as part of a briefing on government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Duterte rejected any further peace negotiations with the rebels in the hopes of ending the five-decade-old insurgency, the longest-running in Asia.
Duterte's decision came following reports that NPA rebels killed soldiers who were delivering medical aid.
The administration also stepped up its counterinsurgency offensive following the shut down media giant, ABS-CBN.
Officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), created by Duterte in 2018, claimed that the communist rebels were riding on the issue that the network's closure was an attack on press freedom. (READ: NTF-ELCAC 'black propaganda' vs Maria Ressa, ABS-CBN sparks outrage) – Rappler.com