Luzon Red rebel slain in intensified military drive

MANILA: A member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in an encounter with government forces in Quezon province in Southern Luzon in the intensified military campaign following the decision of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to formally suspend peace talks with the rebels.

Lieutenant General Danilo Pamonag, the chief of the military’s Southern Luzon Command, said soldiers recovered the body of the slain rebel and an M16 rifle from the encounter site in a mountain “barangay” (village) in the town of Atimonan. Quezon on Friday.

Pamonag said he dispatched a team of soldiers following complaints from villagers on the presence of heavily armed NPA members who were reportedly extorting money and food, especially rice, from them in the guise of collecting “revolutionary taxes.”

The rebels fired at the soldiers when they saw them approaching, resulting in a 30-minute firefight after which they withdrew leaving behind their slain comrade, Pamonag said.

Earlier on Thursday, the military said government forces overran an NPA camp in the town of Tubay, Agusan del Sur province in restive Mindanao and confiscated several firearms, improvised bombs and materials for the manufacture of home-made explosives.

The military said soldiers captured the camp after an intense firefight after they received tips from concerned villagers on the presence of insurgents in their area.

No casualty was reported on the government side but the military said soldiers reported they found “heavy bloodstains” from the rebels’ escape routes, indicating they suffered either many dead or wounded.

The NPA is the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines that has been waging a Maoist-style insurgency against the government for 50 years, considered the longest in Asia and the Pacific.

But President Duterte formally announced suspension of peace talks with the Maoists before negotiations could resume on June 29 with Norway as the third party facilitator.

Duterte said government would now conduct “localised” peace talks with the Maoists instead of holding these abroad with their leaders, including Jose Maria Sison, the founding chairman of the CPP, who is on exile in the Netherlands.



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