HINIMBANGAN, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte (MindaNews/27 December) — Oplan Bayanihan, the centerpiece of the Aquino administration’s counterinsurgency program, has failed to contain the armed movement in Mindanao, Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao, said over the weekend.
In a video message during the 47th anniversary celebration here attended by some 3,000 people, Madlos said the New People’s Army has maintained its stronghold in 46 guerrilla fronts in five regions in Mindanao despite intensified attacks by government forces.
He said the NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, launched over 500 tactical offensives against military, paramilitary and police targets in Mindanao in 2015.
Speaking in Cebuano, he said there are now 60 battalions of government forces in Mindanao, 60 percent of which are deployed in NPA areas.
He added the figure doesn’t include police, the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit and other paramilitary forces such as BULIF, Alamara, Gantangan, Bagani, Magahat, and the Calpet group.
Madlos said the number of tactical offensives this year is the highest since President Benigno Aquino III assumed office in 2010.
“The number of tactical offensives in the whole of Mindanao continues to increase from 250 TOs when the US-Aquino III regime began its term in 2010 to 350 TOs in 2011, then 400 in 2012, more than 400 each in 2013 and 2014, and more than 500 in 2015,” he said.
The NDF leader said their major offensives included the raid on Mayor Brilliantes’s “private army” in Compostela Valley; the raids against police headquarters in the towns of Tigbao in Zamboanga del Sur, Don Victoriano in Misamis Occidental and Alegria in Surigao del Norte.
He also mentioned the raids against the Earth Savers Security in Butuan City, military and Cafgu units, as well as a mining company in Surigao del Norte and a plantation in Bukidnon.
He said the NPA confiscated several firearms from government forces and expanded its guerrilla units.
Madlos claimed that in 2015, the NPA inflicted casualties on government forces numbering over a battalion and suffered minimal casualties.
He said they captured at least 61 “prisoners of war” who were treated based on the Geneva Conventions.
The CPP was founded on Dec. 26, 1968, the birth anniversary of Mao Zedong. Three months after, the Party formed the NPA whose fighters numbered less than a hundred.
The “re-established CPP”, as its founders called it, spurned the pro-Soviet leanings of its predecessor, the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, and adopted a Maoist line.
After President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, the CPP-NPA grew in number and spread to most of the country’s provinces. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)