Army verifies reports of rebel expansion

Col. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army in Tanjay City, yesterday said they are verifying reports of an alleged expansion of guerilla fronts of the New People’s Army in some towns in northern Negros Oriental.

The 302nd Infantry Brigade has received intelligence reports about the NPA’s expansion plan for its Larangan Guerilla 1 front that includes the towns of Bindoy, Tayasan, Jimalalud and La Libertad in the first district of Negros Oriental, Patrimonio said.

The LG-1 of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon Negros covers Guihulngan in Negros Oriental, Moises Padilla, La Castellana and Isabela in Negros Occidental, among others, Patrimonio added.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police are strengthening their watch over vital installations and soft targets in Negros Oriental because of intelligence reports that the NPA will conduct a series of tactical offensives this month and next month.

This is apparently designed to pressure the Philippine government to give in to the rebel group’s pre-conditions for the resumption of peace talks between the two panels, Patrimonio said.

He pointed out that one of the bargaining chips of the CPP-NPA-NDF is their demand for the Philippine government to release more prisoners held under suspicion of being rebels.

The next round of peace talks between the GPH and the CPP-NPA-NDF is expected to be hosted by the Royal Government of Norway

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