Bacolod: Campaign to foil NPA infiltration in schools intensified


In the wake of debacles suffered by the New People’s Army in Negros Island, as a result of focused military operations and implementation of Community Support Programs to clear communities of rebel infiltration, the Regional Task Force ELCAC (Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict) is also intensifying its campaign against alleged infiltration in schools and recruitment of students by allied organizations of the CPP NPA to address their dwindling manpower, said a top Philippine Army official.

Due to a reduction of memberships, especially armed combatants, Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, Army 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander, disclosed that they are expecting the NPA remnants in Negros to double their efforts in recruiting new members in the urban areas, among other places.

But we will not allow it to happen, said Edralin, who spoke recently at the meeting with representatives of various state universities and colleges held at the Bacolod City Government Center.

Edralin said they are enlisting the help of school officials and teachers, who act as second parents and guardians of students, to insulate them from rebel recruitment through deceptive campaigns.

He added that the meeting with representatives of state colleges and universities is a move forward to use platform of RTF-ELCAC, through Situation Awareness Knowledge Management, to give awareness to stakeholders on the modus operandi of the NPA and allied organizations in recruiting students.

Edralin said they are validating reports on deployment of new rebel cadres to Negros Occidental from other regions, to address the leadership vacuum in Negros Island, following deaths of several of its key regional leaders, including Rogelio Posadas and Romeo Nanta, secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, and regional commander of the NPA, respectively.

He also assessed the two NPA guerilla fronts in Central Negros as “weakened,” with armed combatants being considered as “insignificant,” as their numbers have further reduced nine to 12 members per guerilla front.

Edralin said they also recommended that the Central Negros 1 be classified as “dismantled,” with Central Negros 2 still under further evaluation.

While the Northern Negros Front under KR NCBS was also declared as dismantled by the AFP in April 2021, he said there has been an ongoing effort of its remnants to recover lost territories.

Edralin also described the ambush encounter in Brgy. Minapasok, Calatrava, last month as an isolated incident, and a part of the NPA propaganda to show that they are still a force to reckon.

The incident claimed the life of a policeman, and caused injuries to two others.

Edralin however said both the Philippine Army and National Police are doing their best to account for the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, Councilor Pao Sy, RTF-ELCAC spokesperson Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, NICA 6 regional director Priscilla Escobin, PCol. Leo Pamittan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, and PCol. Noel Aliño, director of the Bacolod City Police Office, also joined the activity.

(Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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