The commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) on Saturday said communist groups in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions are on the brink of collapse following successive operations that resulted in surrenders and deaths.
Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the 4ID, said in a statement there are already 35 leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) who have been “neutralized” since January 2021.
They were either killed during military operations or surrendered to authorities.
“The people have seen that their government leaders, civil society, and key heads of the indigenous cultural communities are serious in their collective task to end the local communist armed conflict. The whole of nation approach has been the common language that resonated to all peace-seeking partners with the end in view of ending over five decades of insurgency problem in Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions,” Brawner said.
He said there is now a leadership vacuum, particularly with the recent surrender of the head of North Central Mindanao Regional Committee’s (NCMRC) Guerilla Front 4A (GF4A) and the capture of a Central Committee member.
Since the assumption of Brawner as 4ID Commander on July 5, 2021, there were already 85 communist leaders and members who surrendered, were apprehended or got killed during clashes with the military.
Firearms and ammunition were also seized.
Khim Agad Mapoy, secretary of the dismantled GF4A of NCMRC, surrendered on Sept. 15 to the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) in Agusan del Norte.
Adding to the low morale of rebels, Brawner said, is the diminishing mass support that crippled their ideological, political, and organizational works in areas that they have targeted for expansion.
Meanwhile, the capture of Manuelito Satur and Merlyn Satur, NCMRC’s Sub Regional Committee 1 (SRC1) secretary and deputy secretary, respectively, by the military and police in Gingoog City on September 16 was another blow to the National Operations Command of the communist forces in Mindanao.
Adelaida Magpatoc, a former secretary of Far South Mindanao Regional Party Committee, NDF consultant, and CPP-NPA-NDF Central Committee member, was nabbed in Barangay Paitan, Quezon, Bukidnon.
Brawner credited the vital role of the Regional Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict in sustaining the momentum of government peace efforts and reaping the gains in the fight against the CPP-NPA-NDF.
He also cited the support of local chief executives and the officials of regional government agencies that fueled the participation of communities.