Eastern Visayas NPA now ‘leaderless’

New People’s Army (NPA). AFP PHOTO

TACLOBAN CITY — The Philippine Army revealed on Friday that the remaining members of the New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas are now “leaderless” and disorganized with the recent deaths, capture and surrender of its top leaders in the region.

8th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Camilo Ligayo said that the NPA in the region is on the verge of collapse as they could not find potential leaders who would direct and make critical decisions for the group.

“They are leaderless now since no one is giving them instructions. Many of their members realized that they have been deceived,” Ligayo said.

To recall, couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon were last seen in Samar last year, and nowhere to be found to make critical decisions for the group. Benito was believed to be the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic and its armed wing NPA.

On 22 August 2022, a boat carrying 10 NPA rebels exploded in Catbalogan, Samar. The casualties reportedly included Tiamzon and his wife.

In a press briefing last month, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency confirmed the couple’s death based on intelligence reports and statements from their former comrades.

Ligayo said the death of Helenita Pardales, secretary of the NPA’s Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee during a fierce gun battle on 23 November 2022, in Las Navas, Northern Samar has further crippled the armed struggle.

Other NPA leaders in the region killed last year were Maria Norie Adelantar, finance officer of the NPA subregional committee; Amado Adelantar, executive committee member of NPA EVRPC; and Robin Rosco, platoon leader.

Those arrested were Esteban Manuel, a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines central committee; Leonardo Bernardo, EVRPC member; Rosalinda Esponilla, EVRPC secretary; and Leo Bagaris, EVRPC regional staff.

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