Malacañang contradicted the reported statement of the Communist Party of the
and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) that they have extended their forces in Eastern Mindanao.
Citing latest data gathered by the Cabinet Security Cluster from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday that the rebels’ numbers have in fact dwindled over the last three months.
In an interview over the state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Coloma said the CPP-NPA personnel dropped by 17 percent from 2,035 to 1,691 and the affected villages went down by 25 percent from 547 to 414.
Government forces also managed to reduce the rebels’ arsenal by about six percent from 2,383 to 2,232, Coloma added, and their guerrilla front was cut from 29 to 24 or 17 percent.
“Hayag na ang paghina ng kanilang puwersa sa lahat ng aspeto at ang kanilang panlilinlang ay kasabay ng kanilang pagsasagawa ng extortion na tinagurian nilang ‘revolutionary taxation’ dahil sa parating na halalan,” Coloma said.
“Patuloy ding pinaiigting at ibayo pang pinaghuhusay ng pamahalaan ang paghahatid ng mahalagang serbisyo at programang pangkaunlaran para sa kapakanan ng mga mamamayan habang tinitiyak ang kanilang seguridad at kaligtasan,” he added.