BACOLOD CITY – A top official of the Philippine Army in Negros Island has dismissed the claim of the New People’s Army (NPA) that the 10 communist-terrorists killed in a clash with government troops in central Negros last week were martyrs.
“Of course not, they have the wrong cause and ideology, to begin with. If you ask me if I’m happy about it, the answer is no. They could be somebody’s husband, son, father. A fellow Filipino,” Col. Michael Samson, acting commander of the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, said in an interview here on Monday afternoon.
Samson added though the Army itself has not been remiss in reminding those in the armed struggle to surrender and avail of the state amnesty, particularly the E-CLIP or Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
In a statement issued during the NPA’s 52nd year on Monday, the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command in Negros Island said they honor and salute the 10 fighters who laid their lives for the armed struggle, calling them the people’s heroes and martyrs of the revolution.
However, Samson said fighting the state is a futile endeavor, adding that the communist-terrorists will “never win against the legitimate forces of the government”.
“It’s sad. Let this be a lesson for those still in the movement. They should see the opportunity provided by the government to them,” he added.
Samson said if those killed have decided to surrender before they lost their lives, they could have availed of cash incentives under the Firearms Remuneration Program, considering the bulk of firearms recovered by government troops after the clash Sitio Agit, Barangay Trinidad in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on March 23.
“That could have been a seed money for their kabuhayan (livelihood). The kabuhayan showcase turned into a death showcase,” he added.
After the three-hour encounter, 10 rebels died while one was wounded, and troops recovered 11 high-powered firearms.
The 80 soldiers from the 62nd Infantry Battalion, 33rd Division Reconnaissance Company, and 16th Scout Ranger Company involved in the operation were personally awarded the Medal of Merit by Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana on March 25.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)