By Jennifer P. Rendon
2021 was a success for the government’s internal security operations (ISO) efforts, the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division declared.
The basis for the claim is the neutralization of 142 members, including 12 top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Captain Kim Apitong, 3rd ID spokesperson, said the accomplishment was a result of the 3rd ID’s Focused Military Operations (FMOs), coupled with purposive Civil Military Operations and the overwhelming support of the member-agencies of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)
Seventy-one of the alleged rebels voluntarily surrendered while 49 died in armed encounters with government forces.
Fourteen were apprehended by law-enforcement agencies while eight were captured during operations.
Notable among the 12 neutralized NPA personalities was Reynaldo Bocala alias Russ/Bading, the chief Regional Finance Bureau of Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay, who was killed in a shootout with AFP-PNP operatives at Providence Subdivision in Barangay Balabag, Pavia, Iloilo on May 28, 2021.
Also neutralized were Karima Lorena Tariman alias Ella/Emem, secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros Cebu Bohol Siquijor (NNF, KR-NCBS)’s Northern Negros Front; Marilyn Badayos alias Monet, NNF’s KR-NCBS finance officer; and Joven Ceralvo alias Lex, the commanding officer of the Front Operational Command and deputy secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay.
Major General Benedict Arevalo, 3rd ID commander, also attributed their ISO success to the vigilance and cooperation of Western and Central Visayas people, as well as the continuous collaboration with concerned government agencies under the mechanism of the NTF-ELCAC in the region.
He also commended all the Spearhead Troopers for their exemplary performance and contribution in winning the fight against the CPP-NPA while urging them to maintain the gains of the Division’s peace drive guided by its campaign mantra “Loved by the people, feared by the enemy.”
The 3rd ID chief also reiterated his persistent reminder to the remaining NPAs to surrender.
“The government is always open to those rebels who would want to go back to the folds of the law, we urge them (NPA) to lay down their arms while they still have time,” Arevalo said.