• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A ranking military official yesterday aired his optimism in the dismantling of two “weakened” New People’s Army guerilla fronts in central Negros by the end of this year, following a series of debacles suffered by the NPA due to focused military operations of the Philippine Army.
Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said they are relentlessly continuing the conduct of focused military operations to account for the remnants of the Central Negros 1 and 2 guerilla fronts of the Komiting Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siqujor, which is now suffering from a leadership vacuum following the death of its top leader, Rogelio Posadas, alias Ka Poten.
Two more NPA rebels died on Tuesday during an encounter in Brgy. Macagahay, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, two weeks after the killing of nine rebels in Brgy. Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, and Brgy. Buenavista, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, that led to recovery of 18 firearms, as well as explosives, among other materials.
Edralin claimed that Central Negros 1, also known as the Leonardo Panaligan Command, has nine remaining armed members, although the rebel unit and Central Negros 2, whose combatants are always on the run, are beefed up by KR NCBS Regional Striking Force (RSF).
Two other NPA guerilla fronts, South East and Northern Negros Fronts of KR NCBS, have been categorized as “dismantled” by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Their days are numbered,” Edralin said, referring to NPA remnants in Negros.
Regarding orders issued by the NPA Apolinario Gatmaitan Command for its guerilla fronts to conduct tactical offensives against government forces in Negros Island, Edralin welcomed it, saying that they may no longer have difficulties in finding them.
That is why we are asking now for them to surrender, otherwise they will suffer the same fate of their 11 comrades, who recently died in a series of armed skirmishes, the 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, added.
On the other hand, the identities of two slain rebels in Moises Padilla have yet to be established, as of this time.
But Edralin said the 32 families temporarily displaced by series of encounters have already returned to their respective homes, after receiving food packs and hygiene kits from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.*