Reds interested in peace talks due to heavy losses: AFP

Communist rebels and their allies are only interested in the peace talks because they are steadily losing to the military, Armed Forces of the Philipines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said Monday.

“Yes, we can say that. Sa katunayan, binigay natin sa inyo yung mga (In fact, we have given you the) statistics and we have been saying that all along,” he added.

Despite their gains, the AFP spokesperson said the military strongly supports all measures and initiatives that will lead to a just and lasting peace.

“Patuloy pa rin ang pagsuporta ng AFP sa lahat ng (The AFP is continuously supporting all) peace endeavors subalit ang kapayapaang ito ay dapat naayon sa maayos, parehas, at pamamaraan na tunay na makikinabang ang ating bansa at ng ating mga kababayan (but this peace must be achieved in an orderly and fair manner and it must truly benefit the country and the people),” he added.

Earlier, Arevalo said that the AFP has recorded 681 military operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) starting from Jan. 1, 2017 to June 25 of this year.

The AFP spokesperson said that all of these encounters are initiated by government troops.

Since 2017, Arevalo said AFP records show a downward trend in enemy atrocities.

“For year 2017, we have recorded a total of 455 communist terrorist group incidents while on the first semester of 2018, that’s (from) Jan. 1 to June 25, we have monitored 112 incidents,” Arevalo said.

Included in these incidents are arson. which decreased from 77 in 2017 to 18 in the first semester of 2018. Moreover, cases of abduction/kidnapping “decreased also from 25 to only one, and intimidation from two to none”.

Arevalo said there were also incidents of ransacking of facilities “from six to three” aside from road blockade or checkpoint, that decreased from two to “zero incidents.”

Aside from the decline in NPA atrocities, the AFP spokesperson said that they have recorded the surrender of 6,659 NPA members, underground movement members, Militia ng Bayan members and other rebel supporters as of this year alone.

“Sa bilang na yan (From this number), 59 ang nadakip (were arrested), ang napatay ay (those killed were) 68, ang firearms na nabawi o nakuha natin ay (seized firearms reached) 736. Combined na dyan ang low at saka (That is a combination of low and) high powered-firearms,” he added.

As of this posting, the AFP spokesperson estimated that there are only 3,900 armed regular members of the NPA nationwide. PNA