Army vows to arrest top communist leader

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—With renewed hostilities following Monday’s expiration of the Christmas ceasefire, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division yesterday vowed to get Jorge “Ka Oris”  Madlos, the top leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in Mindanao.

Maj. Eugenio Julio Osias IV, commander of the  4th Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Battalion said they have been directed by 4th ID commander Maj. Gen. Victor Felix to resume operations against the NPA especially in remote communities in Northern and Eastern Mindanao, which is under the sway of Madlos, the CPP-NPA-NDF’s Northeastern Mindanao Regional Party Committee leader.

Madlos surfaced last month and faced hundreds of journalists and visitors who attended the 42nd anniversary of the CPP in Surigao del Sur last December 26.

During the celebration, Madlos announced that the NPA will be launching an all-out offensive against government targets after the ceasefire.

“Major Gen. Victor Felix is committed to stop all the criminal activities of the CPP-NPA who are exploiting the people and the business sector under the 4ID AOR. He ordered the Diamond troopers to resume the military offensive after the ceasefire especially that the CPP-NPA leadership also declared to intensify attacks against government forces and civilian communities,” Osias said.

The expiration of the 19-day “Christmas ceasefire” at midnight Monday was expected to trigger renewed hostilities between government troops and the insurgents.

But Osias said that aside from offensive operations, the 4th ID is also employing “community organizing for peace and development (COPD) strategy to “counter the recruitment of the NPAs, who are being considered as the stumbling block or hindrance for national development.”

“The 4ID will work with the LGUs, LGAs, NGOs, church leaders and PNP in securing the people to include all business establishment to help in sustaining the economic gains in the area,” he added.

Meanwhile, Marco Valbuena, media officer of the CPP, said that the Maoist group and its supporters are “bracing for a more intensified campaign of military suppression” under Oplan Bayanihan.

“The CPP called on all revolutionary forces to carry out their tasks with utmost vigor and resolve in 2011 and beyond, turn the tables against the enemy, grab the initiative and launch effective tactical offensives against enemy forces within and around the guerrilla fronts, zones and bases,” Valbuena said in an emailed statement.

Oplan  Bayanihan is the new security plan of the Armed  Forces of the Philippines against rebel groups. It will be in effect until 2016 and will include non-combat operations that will focus on poverty and other causes of rebellion. Under Oplan Bayanihan, the government will focus on defeating terrorists while pursuing talks with communist rebels and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Albus D. Estabas


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