Philippine Army says NPA purging continues

October 12, 2010 11:20 am 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, Oct. 11 — The communist New People’s Army (NPA) has continued its violent act of purging their members –- young or old –- suspected of planning to surrender or acting as double agents for the government, according to a ranking military official.

Col. Antonio Parlade, spokesman of the Philippine Army, said the latest victims of NPA purging were Bobong Lumbanayan Anduyo, alias “Iso,” and Rito Mawang, alias 'Jeffrey,’ whose bodies were exhumed by joint military and police operatives in a remote area in Sitio Pundasyon, Barangay Concepcion, Laak, Compostela Valley province.

Anduyo and Mawang were both members of the Southern Regional Guerilla Unit, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC), Parlade said.

It may be recalled that the NPA purging started in the early 1980s when hundreds of NPA rebels suspected as “spies” were executed by their own comrades in various parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The purging was labeled as “Operation Zombies.” The victims' skeletal remains, buried in shallow graves, were later uncovered by troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The discovery of the NPA killing field backfired when the NPA strength dwindled from a high of 25,600 in 1986 to about 6,000 in 1995 due to a combination of mass surrender and casualties in combat.

The rebels’ strength slowly climbed anew to 12,000 in 2000 but was reduced again to about 4,000 at the end of June 30, 2010 as a result of an intensified counter-insurgency operation by the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) that included offering livelihood assistance for NPA rebels who would like to surrender.

Among the livelihood programs under the supervision of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) are tractors and carabaos for farmers, sari-sari stores, tricycle operation and other small business enterprises for those who wish to run a small business of their own.

According to Col. Parlade, Anduyo was only 16 when he was recruited by the NPA to join the communist group. The last time Anduyo was seen alive by his family was in November 2009.

"His disappearance prompted Maneha Anduyo, the father, to seek help from the authorities to locate his son after he heard rumors that the younger Anduyo was murdered by his comrades after trying to leave the communist group," Parlade said.

Meanwhile, Parlade said that the latest NPA atrocities involved the killing of Jesus Jamen, a rebel returnee who was gunned down by his former fellow rebels in Cauayan, Negros Occidental on Oct. 4, and Eulalio Bargaso, a civilian, who was killed when NPA guerillas barged into his home in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental on Oct. 5.

Bargaso was killed for his refusal to pay “revolutionary tax,” Parlade said.

"These atrocities committed by the CPP-NPA group substantiate the early reports of the group’s continuing practice of ‘multiple killing’ or purging within their ranks. This time, the attacks affect those who denounce the armed struggle.”

"This is a clear manifestation of the communist terrorists’ callous and insensitive nature wherein they do not discriminate their targets in order to create an atmosphere of fear among the local residents,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, commanding general of the 70,000-strong Philippine Army, condemned the NPA atrocities and appealed to all stakeholders “to take action and join them in order to improve the plight of all people who have been victims of communist insurgency." (PNA Features)

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