MANILA, Philippines – The New People’s Army (NPA) is planning to beef up its presence in close to 300 barangays in Caraga region and nearby provinces, the military said Friday.
Maj. Eugenio Osias IV, spokesman of the Army’s 4th division, said the rebels are arming their militia units to intensify their influence in the region.
“The NPA has been arming their local recruits in 52 barangays and still targeting another 284 barangays in the area of Caraga region and the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental,” Osias said in a statement.
He said rebel-influenced barangays are those with the presence of NPA-backed unit called “militia ng bayan (people’s militia).”
Osias said the NPA militia units are employed to assassinate soldiers and to attack military detachment.
Despite the presence of insurgents in a significant number of barangays, the military claims that the influence of the rebellion is weakening.
Osias said the number of rebel-influenced barangays had been lessened to 52 from more than a hundred two years ago.
He admitted though that it is hard to spot an NPA member especially if he is not bringing any weapon.