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13 NPA rebels killed in Quezon and Zambales clashes

Following two clashes between the New People’s Army and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, 13 leftist rebels were killed on Saturday (June 30) in Quezon and Zambales. One clash happened noon in San Narciso, Quezon which resulted in the deaths of eleven and another clash resulted in the death of two more in a predawn clash in Botolan, Zambales.

Colonel Arnulfo Burgos, the spokesman of the military, said that the weekend clashes were the result of tip-offs from civilians who were getting tired of the presence of the rebel group. He also said the clash in Quezon is the largest number of NPA casualties in one clash recorded.

The clash happened when government troops intercepted a fifteen-manned rebel group setting up an ambush operation for military troops according to local army commander Colonel Eduardo Ano. Two soldiers were wounded in the 30-minute gunfight said Ano

Prior to this clash, another encounter between the military and the NPA erupted in Botolan, Zambales. This resulted in the deaths of two rebels and four others injured. Handguns, rifles, and grenades were recovered from the two incidents on Saturday.

The NPA is the armed unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has been in constant conflict with the government. It is one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies which began in year 1969.

The government believes that the  NPA has reduced in number after years of losses in the battlefield. It is estimated that the NPA is composed of 4,000 fighters nationwide as of 2011. This number is a sharp drop compared to when the NPA peaked at 26,000 members in the 1980s.

Despite lower numbers, the group remains active in conflicts with local military units in various rural areas in the country. They attack military and police outposts using different guerrilla tactics. They also loot and extort money from rural businesses like mining companies and plantations. The military believes that extortion is a rampant practice of the group, resulting in a total of PhP27 million extorted money in year 2011.