The Armed Forces of the Philippines reported the number of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels that returned to the government fold last year rose to 367 from 235 recorded in 2011. This accounted for the successful implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan particularly the Localized Integration Program (LIP).
The IPSP Bayanihan also sustained its momentum by posting a 63% increase in the total of neutralized communist rebels in 2012, according to various reports from field units of the military.
Also, the number of NPA-initiated violent incidents (NIVIs) dropped by 21% from 473 in 2011 to 374 in 2012. This shows the continuing decline of NPA-initiated violent incidents during the implementation of IPSP Bayanihan. Before it was launched in 2011, the AFP recorded 501 NIVIs in 2010.
The violent armed group continues to attack civilians and non-combatants as demonstrated in their recent attack in Negros Occidental that killed nine civilians and their raid of the DOLE Philippines and Del Monte Plantation. Such modus of force and intimidation to coerce civilians including private firms and individuals to give in to their demands are desperate moves by the NPA who continue to lose their mass base support.Clergy, Peace Advocates Condemn Negros Massacre
Meanwhile, the Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental condemned the NPA’s attack on civilians that also wounded 12 people on January 27.
“Those lucky ones, who narrowly escaped death from the bursts of gunfire randomly aimed at them as passengers of the truck and who repeatedly identified themselves as civilians, witnessed how the killers cold-bloodedly and heartlessly ‘finished off’ some of the wounded one by one by firing at their heads at close range and in some instances, in spite of pleadings to be spared,” said the statement.
The statement further denounced the distortion of facts when the NPAs admitted the massacre. “Not only that this admission came almost after a week had elapsed, it came with distortions of the facts, a bundle of justifications and promises of indemnification which were meant to sanitize the barbarity of the act and impress the world of the group’s faithful adherence to agreements it signed with the government,” the statement said.
On the other hand, the Peace Advocates of Negros also slammed the execution of pleading survivors of the ambush, saying that “no motive is so compelling, no cause so demanding and no ideology so righteous that it will justify the murder of so many innocent [civilians].”
“While we support the initiatives of the government to talk peace with the communist group in pursuit of just and lasting peace for our country, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to sustain its gains from the IPSP Bayanihan in our operations against the violent armed rebels through focused and intelligence-based security operations. We will continue in our effort to convince the NPA to abandon the armed violence that continues to hamper growth and development in our country,” Gen Bautista said.