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Bacolod: Army’s 303IB ordered to address NPA killing spree

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Bacolod City – Army infantry units have been ordered to address the New People’s Army killing spree in Negros island, where five civilians, including a barangay kagawad, accused by communist rebels of being military informants, were killed in the first month of 2023.

Newly promoted Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, chief of the AFP Visayas Command (VISCOM) and concurrent commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, yesterday said he ordered commanders of infantry battalions and brigades in Negros to act on the spate of killings, which the NPA has claimed responsibility.

“I want to see results of their operations in the coming days,” Arevalo said, adding that “we have no reason not to solve this.”

In separate statements, the New People’s Army claimed responsibility for the death of five civilians they accused as military informants, last month in Negros Island.

Arevalo, who installed Col. Orlando Edralin as the new commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade at Camp Major Nelson Gerona in Murcia, Negros Occidental, said the NPA wants to project of their strength despite the debacles they suffered in the past several months because of intensified focused military operations, by terrorizing and killing innocent civilians, to prevent them from cooperating with authorities.

With regards to rebels labeling their victims of summary executions as military informants, Arevalo dismissed it as part of their propaganda effort, even from before.

Appropriate charges will be filed against those responsible for the killing of civilians, he added.

Edralin, on his part, said he will prioritize and focus in the conduct of a “more intelligence driven civil military and focus military operations, in order to ensure the neutralization of the remaining rebels in our area of operation,” which is Negros Occidental.

As the saying goes, “it will be long and hard, blood will surely flow, but for sure, there will be no withdrawal”, he stressed.

We will be more relentless in pursuing the remaining armed fighters and supporters of the terrorist armed groups of the CPP NPA NDF, in our area of operation, until all the remaining weakened guerilla fronts are dismantled, Edralin said.

While doing this, we will continue with our collaboration and coordination with the different national and local government agencies, together with our key stakeholders to support our local government units in the conduct of their local peace engagements, he added.

Edralin further said that they will also continue to capitalize and implement the framework of the NTF ELCAC (National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict), or the whole government, or nation approach, in order to sustain the gains and continue with the delivery of much needed socio economic programs and interventions in the different cleared and isolated barangays. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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