Reds now in despair amid massive surrenders: Lorenzana

DUMAGUETE CITY — The Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) denial of the massive surrenders of their armed rebel fighters is a manifestation of their desperation and futile attempt to discredit government efforts to secure peace, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Saturday.

“The latest statement of the CPP shows that they are now in a quandary as to how they can reverse their current predicament. Because of the government’s sincere call for peace, they have lost a lot of fighters lately, and their mass base has rapidly dwindled. Labelling everything that the government has achieved so far as a mere “hoax” manifests desperation and obviously a futile attempt to discredit our efforts in forging peace,” he added.

Also, Lorenzana said that the public is well aware of the lies being perpetuated by the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

“How can the CPP claim that most of the surrenderees are not NPA fighters but “supporters” and even demand a public apology from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when in fact, these former rebels who responded to the government’s call for peace include their former regional secretary in Far South Mindanao, their former Regional SDG (sentro de grabidad or fighting unit) commanders in northern Mindanao, and in Surigao, a front secretary in Davao, and a number of their platoon and team leaders, along with their firearms? It is the communist terrorist CPP-NPA who should apologize to these people whom they have deceived, and who have sacrificed their lives and their families because of this deception,” the defense chief added.

Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported that a total of 4,356 NPA regular members and their supporters have surrendered to government forces nationwide starting Jan 1 up to March 15 this year.

“The figure is composed of 626 NPA regulars and Sangay sa Partido Lokal (SPL) or local party members and 3,730 Militia ng Bayan (MB), Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members and mass supporters. Majority of surrenders happened in eastern Mindanao particularly in the regions of Davao and CARAGA totaling 97 percent or 4,194,” the AFP added.

In line with this, Lorenzana urged all remaining NPA rebels to surrender peacefully as they no longer have any ideology to fight for.

“What’s left is an organization that uses the plight of vulnerable sectors to promote their ultimate plan of amassing money through extortion and seizing power for their leaders’ selfish agenda,” he added. (Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)