THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the communist New People’s Army (NPA) yesterday traded barbs over the success of the Aquino administration’s internal security plan, “Oplan Bayanihan.”
In a statement, Southern Luzon (Solcom) spokesman, Col. Generoso Bolina, cited the surrender of two rebels from San Francisco, Quezon and another guerrilla in Rizal province as another “proof” that Bayanihan is gaining ground, especially thru its incentive of providing livelihood assistance to guerrillas wanting to start a new life.
Citing a report from their field headquarters, Bolina identified the surrenderees in Quezon as Jerry “Ka Randy”Orcales, 44, and Warlito “Ka Lawin” Arogancia, 35, both residents of San Francisco and, Emmanuel “Ka Manuel/Etchie” Quioyo of Sitio San Jose, Bgy. San Jose, Antipolo City.
Bolina said the three decided to return to the fold of the law in their desire to start a new life and to escape the alleged “extreme hardship” they are having in the underground movement.
For his part, Karlos Manuel, spokesman for the Efren Martires Command of the NPA in Eastern Visayas, said their movement is gaining “hundreds of new supporters” as he also chided 8th Infantry Division commander, Maj. Gen. Mario Chan, of “daydreaming.”
“Phony press releases do not win a war; it is the people’s support that is decisive,” said Manuel, referring to the AFP’s claim that it would be able to clean up Eastern Visayas of rebel influence by this year.
“In Leyte alone, which the 8th ID proclaimed as “insurgency-free” in December, the NPA organized at least 500 new revolutionary mass activists of peasants, women and youth in three months even as ‘Oplan Bayanihan’ began its rampage” he said.
“The NPA was also able to reach more barrios than ever in Leyte. The revolutionary mass organizations of peasants, women and youth constitute the mass base of the people’s democratic government. They support the armed struggle and from their ranks, the best sons and daughters of the people are recruited into the NPA,” Manuel added.