Leftist rebels kill 300 gov’t troops in S. Philippines in 2010

SAN AGUSTIN, Philippines, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) — The leftist New People’s Army in southern Philippines said on Sunday the group’s armed wing has continued to gain an upper hand in the war against government forces in the region.

The group was able to carry out at least 250 tactical offensives against government forces in 2010, and has killed at least a battalion of soldiers and policemen or about 300 men, Jorge Madlos, spokesperson for the National Democratic Front in the southern Philippines, said during the 42nd anniversary of the rebels’ political arm, Communist Party of the Philippines at a hinterland village in the Mindanao province of Surigao del Sur.

Madlos said the group welcomed the resumption of the stalled peace talks which would be restarted by February next year, but added it would not be a guarantee they would back down on their armed struggle.

He said the movement would still adopt a two-pronged approach at achieving national democracy which is engaging in peace talks with the government on one hand, and maintaining the NPA on the other, “as the people’s last recourse if the other fails.”

The rebel official also urged the people to help in the peace process by way of pressuring the government into ensuring the agenda on the comprehensive agreement on social economic reforms or Caser are given a priority during the negotiations.

“We welcome the people’s help in addressing the root cause of this insurgency,” Madlos said.

The rebel official said the group is continuing to solidify its hold on the resources-rich island, with 42 guerrilla fronts already established in Mindanao this year, up from 39 last year and with more than 200 high-powered weapons seized from government forces since January arming additional NPA units.

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