Latest News

PA seeks to dismantle 4 more NPA fronts in Samar by early 2023

The Philippine Army is eyeing to completely dismantle the remaining four guerrilla fronts of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Samar Island in the early part of 2023 through the whole of nation approach.


Maj. Gen. Camilo Ligayo, commander of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said these remaining fronts have been weakened in the past few years due to the surrender of active fighters and withdrawal of support from villagers.


“We are confident that the three Samar provinces will be cleared from NPA by early of 2023. The government have done a lot to address insurgency down to the community level,” Ligayo said in an interview on Thursday.


Most of the active NPA fighters are operating in Northern Samar and some in the upland areas within the boundaries of Eastern Samar and Samar provinces.


The military estimated that there are still about 300 NPA fighters hiding in the mountains of Samar belonging to the four fronts.


“With National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), our job has been hastened. Ending insurgency is not just a military solution since we need roads, livelihood, health services and education for people not to be influenced by rebels,” Ligayo added.


National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos said in a summit in Palo, Leyte on Wednesday that she will regularly visit the region to assess the situation in Samar and see what the national government can do to attain lasting peace.


“I will always come here until Samar is declared as insurgency-free. We want to make Samar as one of the top tourist destinations in the country,” said Carlos who have presided the regional task force ELCAC meetings twice since October.


Carlos said among the strategies to end an insurgency is to set up libraries in Samar to educate the young generation, build more infrastructure under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, and increase the budget for Support to Barangay Development Program intended for areas previously influenced by rebels.


“We will also encourage the private sector to come in to fill the gap. The military also wants sustainability of efforts after clearing,” Carlos added.


Samar Island is considered as one of the strongholds of armed rebels due to the densely forested mountainous areas, high poverty incidence, and issue of widespread landlessness, based on a 2013 study of William Norman Holden of the University of Calgary in Canada.


The NPA launched its first tactical operation in the country in Calbiga, Samar in 1974, when its members ambushed an Army scout patrol and seized several weapons.


In 1976, the NPA gained popular support among the inhabitants of Samar following its actions against cattle rustling gangs.


Source: Philippines News Agency