The Philippine Army in
urged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to renounce violence and armed
struggle in the season of Lent.
“Together with all the stakeholders, we call on the remaining NPA members in the region to go back to their families and spend a week of peace and freedom in our democratic society,” Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said in a statement.
Guerrero also instructed field commanders to closely coordinate with other law enforcement agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police, in ensuring the safety and security of the people and in securing vital installations and places frequented by tourists.
On Sunday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the population of the NPA is declining as the development projects of the government are now gaining momentum in the countryside, an official said on Sunday.
So far, the rebel strength all over the country is placed at 4,000.
"We can foresee their downfall as long as development will come in and we will have economic growth and prosperity to every Filipino. In the years to come, the NPA will be irrelevant as foreseen by the Internal Peace and Security Program 'Bayanihan' strategy," said AFP spokesperson Brigade General Joselito Kakilala.
The military’s strategy aims to beat the rebels by developing depressed countryside communities to remove a mass base for the NPAs.