Monday, December 3, 2012

Army captures 6 NPA camps in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 4): Army captures 6 NPA camps in North Cotabato

Government forces pursuing communist guerillas in the hinterlands of North Cotabato have captured six major camps of the New People's Army. Colonel Prudencio Asto, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said on Tuesday that joint elements of the 57th, 7th, and 6th Scout Ranger Company of the 602nd Infantry Brigade, have been engaging about 200 NPA guerillas at the foot of the country’s highest peak – Mt. Apo. Lieutenant Colonel Noel dela Cruz, 57th Infantry Battalion commander, said the discovery of abandoned NPA camps was made possible with the help of civilians who have been complaining of continuing extortion activities of the NPAs. He said civilians were either threatened or coerced to support the underground movement. “These are clear violations on Human Rights (HR), International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Rule of Law (ROL) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL),” Dela Cruz said. “Nobody should be forced to obey or to give food and money through fear and intimidation,” he said, adding that the NPAs now are on the run following the capture of its major camps in Magpet hinterlands.

Last month, according to dela Cruz,the the Army discovered several NPA camps in Makilala and Arakan, both in North Cotabato. “The NPAs are rapidly losing popular support from the people. We’ve been hitting them hard with the support and cooperation of people who have stood up against NPA atrocities,” Dela Cruz said. “We encourage those in the mountains to go back to the folds of the law. The government is sincere in its efforts of ending this conflict. I advise them to avail of the Social Integration Program (SIP) of the government and lead normal lives with their families and loved ones,” the 57th IB chief said.

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