TACLOBAN CITY- Leytes’ top Army official claimed that the members of the armed wing of the communist group are fast dwindling in numbers in the province.
And if there are still presence of New People’s Army in the province or if there are ambuscades reported in Leyte, they are mostly from Samar provinces, Brigadier General Francisco Mendoza, commanding officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, said.
“Rebel forces in Leyte are only more than 40 members but most of them are armed. The augmentation comes from Samar provinces like Northern Samar,” Mendoza, whose headquarters are in Ormoc City, said.
He also claimed that the recent ambushes staged by the NPA members in Leyte were just their “manifestation of their effort to regain their lost grounds” and should not be considered that they are gaining strength.
“The(y) are having a hard time to gather support, convincing and recruiting residents in Leyte to join the movement,” Mendoza said.
He said that people in the villages could no longer be convinced to join their outlawed armed group because the government is delivering services to them like infrastructure and health projects.
Mendoza added that this is also an indication that the military and the Philippine National Police in the Leyte are in full control of the security and peace and order situation.
“We intend to keep this until such time that we can declare Leyte as insurgency-free,” he added.
Brigadier General Mario Lacurom, commanding officer of the 803rd Infantry Brigade based in Catarman, Northern Samar, when asked to confirm on the statement of Mendoza, said that they also received information that rebel members in Samar are sending troops to Leyte as their augmentation force.
Lacurom said that based on the information they have gathered, there are about 150 rebel members operating in his area that covers the province of Northern Samar and the first district of Samar.
The military forces in Samar provinces are doing their share in addressing the problem but to totally end the insurgency, support and cooperation from the local government units is needed, he said.