If NPA being defeated, why 22 battalions in Southern Tagalog?

Continued deployment and operations of about 22 battalions of combined forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and units of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) disprove AFP Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) claims of dismantling and weakening New People’s Army (NPA) units in the region, says Patnubay de Guia, National Democratic Front-Southern Tagalog spokesperson.

The 2nd Infantry Division earlier claimed, as part of its victories, that three NPA guerrilla fronts were dismantled in Calabarzon and other units of the NPA in Southern Tagalog were weakened.

What the AFP claims as victories include forced surrender of civilian peasants as either members or supporters of the NPA, illegal arrests and “neutralization” of CPP and NPA cadres citing the recent massacre of five mango farm workers in Baras, Rizal last December 2020.

De Guia said that the only victory the 2nd ID and Solcom can claim are its bounties and corruption by forcing hundreds of civilians to surrender. Under the AFP’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, a “surrenderee” is set to receive P65,000.

In a command conference held last January 15 in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay conferred the battle of streamer awards to various military units signaling to intensify its brutal and dirty counterinsurgency campaigns accross the country.

Gapay also lauded the military for successfully “dismantling” a total of 13 guerrilla fronts in 2020. He further said that the “weakened units” of the NPA will be destroyed by the end of 2021.

“The NPA continues to operate in 110 guerrilla fronts spread across the country, even expanding and opening new fronts,” countered Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Chief Information Officer Marco Valbuena.

The CPP Central Committee cited in its anniversary statement in 2020 that several regions, including Southern Tagalog, have “outstanding” experiences in guerrilla territory expansion.

If NPA being defeated, why 22 battalions in Southern Tagalog?